Architecting Neonicotinoid-Scavenging Nanocomposite Hydrogels for Environmental Remediation

Abdulaziz Alammar, Sang-Hee Park, Izwaharyanie Ibrahim, Deepak Arun, Tibor Holtzl, Ludovic F. Dumée, Hong Ngee Lim, Gyorgy Szekely

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64 Scopus citations


The ubiquitous presence of neonicotinoid insecticides in the environment poses potential health concerns across all biomes, aquatic systems, and food chains. This global environmental challenge requires robust, advanced materials to efficiently scavenge and remove these harmful neonicotinoids. In this work, we engineered nanocomposite hydrogels based on sustainable cellulose acetate for water treatment. The nanocomposite hydrogels were incorporated with small quantities of polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIM-1) and graphene oxide (GO). We prepared the hydrogels using green solvents such as Cyrene and MeTHF via simple dropwise phase inversion. High adsorption capacity and fast kinetic behavior toward acetamiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam were observed. We also developed a rapid and sustainable ultrasound-assisted regeneration method for the hydrogels. Molecular dynamics of the complex quaternary system revealed the synergistic effects of the components, and the presence of PIM-1 was found to increase the GO surface area available for neonicotinoid scavenging. We demonstrated the robustness and practicality of the nanocomposites in continuous environmental remediation by using the hydrogels to treat contaminated groundwater from the Adyar river in India. The presented methodology is adaptable to other contaminants in both aqueous environments and organic media.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100878
JournalApplied Materials Today
StatePublished - Nov 13 2020

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-11-18
Acknowledgements: The graphical abstract and Figs. 1 and 3 were created by Xavier Pita, scientific illustrator at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). AA acknowledges the PhD scholarship from Saudi Aramco. We thank Ali Reza Behzad from the Imaging and Characterization Core Lab at KAUST for assisting with the cryo-SEM measurements. The research reported in this publication was supported by funding from KAUST. TH thanks the Hungarian Government and the European Union, Grant/Award Number: VEKOP-2.1.1-15-2016-00114 for their support.


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