Opus 22

Title: Nanotubular materials based on kaolin group minerals for the photodegradation of selected mycotoxins in aqueous environment
Duration: 2022-2025
Principal Investigator: Jakub Matusik
Funding agency: National Science Centre (Poland)
Project ID: Opus 22

Mycotoxins are complex organic compounds produced by filamentous fungi of different genera. They pose serious danger at very low concentration and most of them are highly toxic and carcinogenic. It is estimated that ~25% of all crops worldwide contain mycotoxins which are further transferred to aquatic environments. Solid state mineral adsorbents are easy to use and cost-effective for removal of pollutants from aqueous media. Especially clay minerals are capable of reducing toxins bioavailability, however their complete destruction is not possible by adsorption. This causes secondary pollution as regeneration and reuse of adsorbents is not always possible. On the other hand photodegradation of targeted hazardous compounds leads to their complete destruction via redox reactions.

In our earlier studies we have shown that kaolinite can be transformed into mesoporous nanotubes. Their formation mechanism and features were reported by our group. In the project we propose a methodology where kaolinite nanotubes will be impregnated by semiconductors to achieve high dispersion and thus high activity in photodegradation of mycotoxins. Up to date reports indicated the possibility of mycotoxins photodegradation. However, to our best knowledge, the research on photodegradation of mycotoxins by kaolinite-based materials is not available, especially in the form of nanotubular material. So far the materials based on kaolinite were used for photodegradation of volatile organic compounds, dyes, phenolic compounds and selected persistent organic pollutants. The subject combines knowledge of experimental mineralogy and materials science with environmental protection.