Environmental applications and risks of nanomaterials: An introduction to CREST publications during 2018–2021

Scott A. Bradford, Chongyang Shen, Hyunjung Kim, Robert J. Letcher, Jörg Rinklebe, Yong Sik Ok, Lena Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Nanomaterials (NMs) possess many unique properties that are increasingly used in environmental applications. Twenty-six articles in Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology (CREST) from 2018 to 2021were identified that enhance our understanding and provide insight about future research directions with NMs in the environment. The first section focuses on environmental applications of NMs, including sensors to detect contaminants and environmental conditions, novel membrane materials to treat water and wastewater, and nano-enabled remediation of contaminants by adsorption, photocatalytic degradation, and/or disinfection. The second section reports on risks and the fate of NMs in the environment, including mechanisms and models of environmental transport, the role of nanoscale heterogeneities on particle attachment, and contaminant associations and ecotoxicity. The final section discusses research pertaining to emerging applications and ecotoxicity associated with nanosulfur and nanoplastics. This virtual article collection demonstrates that recent nanotechnology advances show great promise for addressing many critical challenges in environmental science and technology. However, many of these studies have been conducted under highly idealized laboratory conditions and still need to be upscaled. Caution is warranted and new approaches are still needed to detect and control the mobility of NMs, and to quantify potential impacts on ecosystems under realistic field conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3753-3762
Number of pages10
JournalCritical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Nanomaterials
  • applications
  • fate
  • membranes
  • remediation
  • risks
  • toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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