Oil palm empty fruit bunch (EFB) fibers were employed to remove dyes from aqueous solutions via adsorption approaches. The EFB fibers were modified using citric acid (CA) and polyethylenimine (PEI) to produce anionic and cationic adsorbents, respectively. The CA modified EFB fibers (CA-EFB) and PEI-modified EFB fibers (PEI-EFB) were used to study the efficiency in removing cationic methylene blue (MB) and anionic phenol red (PR) from aqueous solutions, respectively, at different pHs, temperatures and initial dye concentrations. The adsorption data for MB on the CA-EFB fitted the Langmuir isotherm, while the adsorption of PR on the PEI-EFB fitted the Freundlich isotherm, suggesting a monolayer and heterogeneous adsorption behavior of the adsorption processes, respectively. Both modified fibers can be regenerated up to seven adsorption/desorption cycles while still providing as least 70% of the initial adsorption capacity.
Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (polyNIPAm) microspheres were synthesized via the suspension polymerization technique. Thermal and redox initiators were compared for the polymerization, in order to study the effect of initiator type on the surface charge and particle size of polyNIPAm microspheres. The successful polymerization of NIPAm was confirmed by FTIR analysis. Microspheres of diameter >50 µm were synthesized when a pair of ammonium persulfate (APS) and N,N,N',N'-tetramethylene-diamine (TEMED) redox initiators was used, whilst relatively small microspheres of ~1 µm diameter were produced using an Azobis-isobutyronitrile (AIBN) thermal initiator. Hence, suspension polymerization using a redox initiator pair was found to be more appropriate for the synthesis of polyNIPAm microspheres of a size suitable for human embryonic kidney (HEK) cell culturing. However, the zeta potential of polyNIPAm microspheres prepared using an APS/TEMED redox initiator was significantly more negative than AIBN thermal initiator prepared microspheres and acted to inhibit cell attachment. Conversely, strong cell attachment was observed in the case of polyNIPAm microspheres of diameter ~90 µm, prepared using an APS/TEMED redox initiator in the presence of a cetyl trimethyl ammonium bromide (CTAB) cationic surfactant; demonstrating that surface charge modified polyNIPAm microspheres have great potential for use in cell culturing.
Graphene/zinc oxide nanocomposite was synthesised via a facile, green and efficient approach consisted of novel liquid phase exfoliation and solvothermal growth for sensing application. Highly pristine graphene was synthesised through mild sonication treatment of graphite in a mixture of ethanol and water at an optimum ratio. The X-ray diffractometry (XRD) affirmed the hydrothermal growth of pure zinc oxide nanoparticles from zinc nitrate hexahydrate precursor. The as-prepared graphene/zinc oxide (G/ZnO) nanocomposite was characterised comprehensively to evaluate its morphology, crystallinity, composition and purity. All results clearly indicate that zinc oxide particles were homogenously distributed on graphene sheets, without any severe aggregation. The electrochemical performance of graphene/zinc oxide nanocomposite-modified screen-printed carbon electrode (SPCE) was evaluated using cyclic voltammetry (CV) and amperometry analysis. The resulting electrode exhibited excellent electrocatalytic activity towards the reduction of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in a linear range of 1-15 mM with a correlation coefficient of 0.9977. The sensitivity of the graphene/zinc oxide nanocomposite-modified hydrogen peroxide sensor was 3.2580 μAmM(-1) with a limit of detection of 7.4357 μM. An electrochemical DNA sensor platform was then fabricated for the detection of Avian Influenza H5 gene based on graphene/zinc oxide nanocomposite. The results obtained from amperometry study indicate that the graphene/zinc oxide nanocomposite-enhanced electrochemical DNA biosensor is significantly more sensitive (P
Fouling of marine surfaces has been a perpetual problem ever since the days of the early sailors. The tenacious attachment of seaweed and invertebrates to man-made surfaces, notably on ship hulls, has incurred undesirable economic losses. Graphene receives great attention in the materials world for its unique combination of physical and chemical properties. Herein, we present a novel 2-step synthesis method of graphene-silver nanocomposites which bypasses the formation of graphene oxide (GO), and produces silver nanoparticles supported on graphene sheets through a mild hydrothermal reduction process. The graphene-Ag (GAg) nanocomposite combines the antimicrobial property of silver nanoparticles and the unique structure of graphene as a support material, with potent marine antifouling properties. The GAg nanocomposite was composed of micron-scaled graphene flakes with clusters of silver nanoparticles. The silver nanoparticles were estimated to be between 72 and 86nm (SEM observations) while the crystallite size of the silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) was estimated between 1 and 5nm. The nanocomposite also exhibited the SERS effect. GAg was able to inhibit Halomonas pacifica, a model biofilm-causing microbe, from forming biofilms with as little as 1.3wt.% loading of Ag. All GAg samples displayed significant biofilm inhibition property, with the sample recording the highest Ag loading (4.9wt.% Ag) associated with a biofilm inhibition of 99.6%. Moreover, GAg displayed antiproliferative effects on marine microalgae, Dunaliella tertiolecta and Isochrysis sp. and inhibited the growth of the organisms by more than 80% after 96h. The marine antifouling properties of GAg were a synergy of the biocidal AgNPs anchored on the stable yet flexible graphene sheets, providing maximum active contact surface areas to the target organisms.
An efficient electrochemical impedance genosensing platform has been constructed based on graphene/zinc oxide nanocomposite produced via a facile and green approach. Highly pristine graphene was synthesised from graphite through liquid phase sonication and then mixed with zinc acetate hexahydrate for the synthesis of graphene/zinc oxide nanocomposite by solvothermal growth. The as-synthesised graphene/zinc oxide nanocomposite was characterised with scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Raman spectroscopy and X-ray diffractometry (XRD) to evaluate its morphology, crystallinity, composition and purity. An amino-modified single stranded DNA oligonucleotide probe synthesised based on complementary Coconut Cadang-Cadang Viroid (CCCVd) RNA sequence, was covalently bonded onto the surface of graphene/zinc oxide nanocomposite by the bio-linker 1-pyrenebutyric acid N-hydroxysuccinimide ester. The hybridisation events were monitored by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). Under optimised sensing conditions, the single stranded CCCVd RNA oligonucleotide target could be quantified in a wide range of 1.0×10-11M to 1.0×10-6 with good linearity (R =0.9927), high sensitivity with low detection limit of 4.3×10-12M. Differential pulse voltammetry (DPV) was also performed for the estimation of nucleic acid density on the graphene/zinc oxide nanocomposite-modified sensing platform. The current work demonstrates an important advancement towards the development of a sensitive detection assay for various diseases involving RNA agents such as CCCVd in the future.
Graphene oxide/chitosan aerogel (GOCA) was prepared by a facile ice-templating technique without using any cross-linking reagent for metanil yellow dye sequestration. The adsorption performance of GOCA was investigated by varying the adsorbent mass, shaking speed, initial pH, contact time, concentration and temperature. The combined effects of adsorption parameters and the optimum conditions for dye removal were determined by response surface methodology. GOCA exhibited large removal efficiencies (91.5-96.4%) over a wide pH range (3-8) and a high adsorption capacity of 430.99 mg/g at 8 mg adsorbent mass, 400 mg/L concentration, 35.19 min contact time and 175 rpm shaking speed. The adsorption equilibrium was best represented by the Langmuir model. GOCA could be easily separated after adsorption and regenerated for re-use in 5 adsorption-desorption cycles thereby maintaining 80% of its adsorption capability. The relatively high adsorption and regeneration capabilities of GOCA render it an attractive adsorbent for treatment of azo dye-polluted water.
Cobalt oxide nanocubes incorporated with reduced graphene oxide (rGO-Co3O4) was prepared by using simple one-step hydrothermal route. Crystallinity and structural characteristics of the nanocomposite were analyzed and confirmed using X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Raman analysis, respectively. The cubical shape of the Co3O4 nanostructures and the distribution of Co3O4 nanocubes on the surface of rGO sheets were identified through field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) and energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) mapping analysis, respectively. Raman spectra depicted the presence of D and G bands for GO and rGO with different ID/IG values and thus confirmed the reduction of GO into rGO. The electrochemical study reflects that the rGO-Co3O4 nanocomposite shows good electrocatalytic activity in oxidation of depression biomarker serotonin (5-HT) in phosphate buffer (pH 7.2). The detection of 5-HT was carried out by using rGO-Co3O4 nanocomposite modified glassy carbon electrode under dynamic condition using amperometry technique with a linear range of 1-10 μM. The limit of detection and limit of quantification were calculated and found to be 1.128 and 3.760 μM, respectively with a sensitivity value of 0.133 μΑ·μM-1. The sensor showed selectivity in the presence of different interferent species such as ascorbic acid, dopamine and uric acid.
This study aimed to explore a potential use of fish scale-derived gelatin nanofibrous scaffolds (GNS) in tissue engineering due to their biological and economical merits. Extraction of gelatin was achieved via decalcification, sonication and lyophilization of mixed fish scales. To fabricate nano-scale architecture of scaffolds analogous to natural extracellular matrix, gelatin was rendered into nanofibrous matrices through 6-h electrospinning, resulting in the average diameter of 48 ± 12 nm. In order to improve the water-resistant ability while retaining their biocompatibility, GNS were physically crosslinked with ultraviolet (UV) irradiation for 5 min (UGN5), 10 min (UGN10) and 20 min (UGN20). On average, the diameter of nanofibers increased by 3 folds after crosslinking, however, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy analysis confirmed that no major alterations occurred in the functional groups of gelatin. A degradation assay showed that UGN5 and UGN10 scaffolds remained in minimum essential medium for 14 days, while UGN20 scaffolds degraded completely after 10 days. All UGN scaffolds promoted adhesion and proliferation of human keratinocytes, HaCaT, without causing an apparent cytotoxicity. UGN5 scaffolds were shown to stimulate a better growth of HaCaT cells compared to other scaffolds upon 1 day of incubation, whereas UGN20 had a long-term effect on cells exhibiting 25% higher cell proliferation than positive control after 7 days. In the wound scratch assay, UGN5 scaffolds induced a rapid cell migration closing up to 79% of an artificial wound within 24 h. The current findings provide a new insight of UGN scaffolds to serve as wound dressings in the future. In the wound scratch assay, UGN5 induced a rapid cell migration closing up to 79% of an artificial wound within 24 h.
Highly sensitive and selective immunosensors that can detect disease biomarkers at ultra-low levels in early stages are urgently needed to reduce mortality risks. A facile and efficient approach using sonochemical-assisted solvent graphene exfoliation and a hydrothermal synthesis method has been used to prepare graphene/titanium dioxide (G/TiO2) nanocomposites. Nanocomposites containing different ratios of graphene and TiO2 precursors were prepared to determine the optimum composition of G/TiO2 that has the highest conductivity and electrocatalytic properties. Characterisation methods such as X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and high resolution TEM (HRTEM) were used to study the crystallinity, surface characteristics, elemental composition, and morphology of the synthesised nanocomposites. The synthesised materials were also confirmed via Raman spectroscopy. Using ferricyanide as the redox active probe, cyclic voltammetry (CV) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) analyses indicated that 1 : 8 ratio of G/TiO2 exhibited the best current response and the lowest charge transfer resistance (Rct) of 1525 Ω. The potential of G/TiO2 for electrochemical sensing application was investigated using hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), a by-product of most enzymatic processes, as the analyte of interest. The sensitivity of the sensor towards H2O2 was 0.557 μA mM-1, with a limit of detection (LOD) at 56.89 μM. An in vitro cell proliferation assay was carried out to investigate the biocompatibility of the nanocomposites. The half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values obtained were >500 μg ml-1 for human lung fibroblasts (MRC5) and 5-25 μg ml-1 for human skin cells (HaCat).
: Hydrogen (H2) is a clean energy carrier which can help to solve environmental issues with the depletion of fossil fuels. Sodium borohydride (NaBH4) is a promising candidate material for solid state hydrogen storage due to its huge hydrogen storage capacity and nontoxicity. However, the hydrolysis of NaBH4 usually requires expensive noble metal catalysts for a high H2 generation rate (HGR). Here, we synthesized high-aspect ratio copper nanowires (CuNWs) using a hydrothermal method and used them as the catalyst for the hydrolysis of NaBH4 to produce H2. The catalytic H2 generation demonstrated that 0.1 ng of CuNWs could achieve the highest volume of H2 gas in 240 min. The as-prepared CuNWs exhibited remarkable catalytic performance: the HGR of this study (2.7 × 1010 mL min-1 g-1) is ~3.27 × 107 times higher than a previous study on a Cu-based catalyst. Furthermore, a low activation energy (Ea) of 42.48 kJ mol-1 was calculated. Next, the retreated CuNWs showed an outstanding and stable performance for five consecutive cycles. Moreover, consistent catalytic activity was observed when the same CuNWs strip was used for four consecutive weeks. Based on the results obtained, we have shown that CuNWs can be a plausible candidate for the replacement of a costly catalyst for H2 generation.
Chemically modified kenaf core fibres were prepared via esterification in the presence of citric acid (CA). The adsorption kinetics and isotherm studies were carried out under different conditions to examine the adsorption efficiency of CA-treated kenaf core fibres towards methylene blue (MB). The adsorption capacity of the kenaf core fibres increased significantly after the citric acid treatment. The values of the correlation coefficients indicated that the Langmuir isotherm fitted the experimental data better than the Freundlich isotherm. The maximum adsorption capacity of the CA-treated kenaf core fibres was found to be 131.6mg/g at 60°C. Kinetic models, pseudo-first-order, pseudo-second-order and intraparticle diffusion, were employed to describe the adsorption mechanism. The kinetic data were found to fit pseudo-second-order model equation as compared to pseudo-first-order model. The adsorption of MB onto the CA-treated kenaf core fibres was spontaneous and endothermic.