Biocompatible functionalisation of nanoclays for improved environmental remediation
Among the wide range of materials used for remediating environmental contaminants, modified and functionalised nanoclays show particular promise as advanced sorbents, improved dispersants, or biodegradation enhancers. However, many chemically modified nanoclay materials are incompatible with living organisms when they are used in natural systems with detrimental implications for ecosystem recovery. Here we critically review the pros and cons of functionalised nanoclays and provide new perspectives on the synthesis of environmentally friendly varieties. Particular focus is given to finding alternatives to conventional surfactants used in modified nanoclay products, and to exploring strategies in synthesising nanoclay-supported metal and metal oxide nanoparticles. A large number of promising nanoclay-based sorbents are yet to satisfy environmental biocompatibility in situ but opportunities are there to tailor them to produce “biocompatible” or regenerative/reusable materials.