Adsorption of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) from the aqueous environment by nano-adsorbents: A review

Joshua O. Ighalo, Pow Seng Yap, Kingsley O. Iwuozor, Chukwunonso O. Aniagor, Tianqi Liu, Kanika Dulta, Felicitas U. Iwuchukwu, Selvasembian Rangabhashiyam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


The intensification of urbanisation and industrial activities significantly exacerbates the distribution of toxic contaminations into the aqueous environment. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) have received considerable attention in the past few decades because of their persistence, long-distance migration, potential bioaccumulation, latent toxicity for humans and wildlife. There is no doubt that POPs cause serious effects on the global ecosystem. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a simple, safe and sustainable approach to remove POPs from water bodies. Among other conventional techniques, the adsorption process has proven to be a more effective method for eliminating POPs and to a larger extent meet discharge regulations. Nanomaterials can effectively adsorb POPs from aqueous solutions. For most POPs, a >70% adsorptive removal efficiency was achieved. The major mechanisms for POPS uptake by nano-adsorbents includes electrostatic interaction, hydrophobic (van der Waals, π-π and electron donor-acceptor) interaction and hydrogen bonding. Nano-adsorbent can sustain a >90% POPs adsorptive removal for about 3 cycles and reuseable for up to 10 cycles. Challenges around adsorbent ecotoxicity and safe disposal were also discussed. The present review evaluated recent research outcomes on nanomaterials that are employed to remove POPs in water systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113123
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Adsorption
  • Advantages
  • Aqueous solution
  • Nanomaterials
  • Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)


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