Remediation via functionalised nanoparticles

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Earth Atmospheric and Env Sciences


Nano-scale particles offer the potential for the targeted treatment of a broad range of contaminants, including problematic radionuclides. Via the flagship EU programme, NanoRem (, recent work in Manchester has helped develop and test a suite of functional nano materials for the in situ treatment of both organic and inorganic contaminants (Watts et al., 2015 and 2017, Joshi et al. 2018), and a recent Sellafield-funded study extended this work to the reduction and precipitation of Tc(VII) in batch sediment microcosms (Newsome et al. , 2019). The aim of this PhD is to (i) build on this work to further assess remediation potential in continuous column studies, exploring stability and transport of any remediation end-point phases, and (ii) to develop and test additional nanomaterials to target other radionuclides of concern to Sellafield.

Overall, the researcher will train in the use of a range of research techniques including state of the art radiochemical, geochemical and mineralogical analyses available within the Williamson Research Centre for Molecular Environmental Science, advanced imaging techniques including gamma camera analysis and electron microscopy, synchrotron spectroscopy, and molecular ecology techniques where microbial processes are linked to nanomaterial reactivity and the biogeochemical fate of radionuclides.

Joshi, N., Liu, F., Watts, M.P., Williams, H., Coker, V.S., Schmid, D., Hofmann, T. & Lloyd, J.R. (2018) Optimising the transport properties and reactivity of microbially- synthesised magnetite for in situ remediation. Scientific Reports 8:4246 DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-21733-y
Newsome L, Morris K, Trivedi D, Bewsher B, Lloyd J R, (2015) Biostimulation by glycerol phosphate to precipitate recalcitrant uranium(IV) phosphate. Environmental Science & Technology, 49 (18), 11070-11078.
Newsome, L., Morris, K. and Lloyd, J.R. (2015) Investigating the Potential for Biostimulation to Remediate Uranium-contaminated Groundwater CL:AIRE Research Bulletin ISSN 2047-6450
Newsome, L., K. Morris, A. Cleary, N. Masters-Waage, N. Joshi, N. Atherton, J.R. Lloyd (2019) The impact of iron nanoparticles on technetium-contaminated groundwater and sediment microbial communities. J Haz Mat 364, 134-142.
Watts, M.P. Cutting, R.S. Joshi, N., Coker, V.S., Mosberger, A., Zhou, B., Davies, C.M. van Dongen, B.E., Hoffstetter, T. & Lloyd, J.R. (2017) Highly efficient degradation of organic pollutants using a microbially-synthesized nanocatalyst. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation. DOI: 10.1016/j.ibiod.2016.12.008
Watts, MP, VS Coker, S Parry, RAD Pattrick, R Thomas, R Kalin & JR Lloyd (2015) Bionanoparticle treatment of alkaline Cr(VI) leachate and chromite ore processing residue. Applied Geochemistry 54 27-42 doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2014.12.001


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509565/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
2338150 Studentship EP/N509565/1 01/09/2019 30/09/2023 Matthew White-Pettigrew
EP/R513131/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2023
2338150 Studentship EP/R513131/1 01/09/2019 30/09/2023 Matthew White-Pettigrew