"Environment" research area

Phytoremediation of PFAS Using Nanomaterials

Primary Investigator - Christy HaynesPrimary InvestigatorChristy Haynes
Co-InvestigatorsRiley Lewis (Postdoctoral Research Scholar)
Industry PartnersEcolab, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
Award Type: Seed Grant - Graduate Research Scholar (with NRRI Travel Grant)

Problem: Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are ubiquitous in the environment and represent a health threat worldwide. There are more than 7500 PFAS, and all have strong C-F bonds that render them persistent in the environment. In Minnesota, PFAS are emerging contaminants found in landfills, fire training facilities, and groundwater, so the MN Department of Health has been sampling within and tracking PFAS-affected communities. Methods for PFAS clean-up are urgently needed.

Solution: This work will develop novel nanomaterials (NNMs) that facilitate sorption and mobility of low-concentration PFAS into hemp plants for phytoremediation. While there are several reasonable sorbents available for water applications, this work will develop high-affinity NNMs for soil and sediment remediation.

Impact: The proposed project will develop NNMs for use in phytoremediation of PFAS and provide information on the mechanism and efficacy of the new remediation method, allowing transfer of PFAS from the diffuse and difficult-to-manage soil compartment to mobile, readily handled plants.