Development of ultrasensitive electrochemical sensors based on nanocomposites for environmental applications

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Albalawi, Ibtihaj
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University College Cork
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Water quality assessment is an essential component of environmental monitoring, which affects not only aquatic life but the surrounding ecosystem as well. The presence of organic and inorganic micropollutants such as carbamate pesticides and heavy metals in water is a crucial water problem generated from industrial effluents, mining wastes, or domestic sewage, and the widespread use of pesticides in pest control in the environment. In the last years, heavy metals have risen significantly, especially in the developed country where most pollutants are used. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), with only 8 % of the world’s population, Germany, the United States, and Russia consume about 75 % of the most widely used metals in the world. The United States only consumes approximately 20 % of the metal pollutants and 25 % of the production of fossil fuels each year. Heavy metals such as lead, and cadmium are among the most critical pollutants and the focus of international legislative bodies because of their nonbiodegradability and toxicity and their long-term negative health effect. Carbamate pesticide use is extensively reported, and the trend in their use is anticipated to rise significantly in the next few decades. Among them, carbaryl is extensively applied in grain and has an adverse impact on the cellular metabolic mechanism and mitochondrial function. Moreover, the pH of the water solution is another vital factor affecting biological and chemical processes in water, which in turn affects the environment and human health. Typically, the used conventional analytical techniques are expensive and time-consuming due to sample transportation, trained personnel, and failure to deliver water quality parameters in real-time. Therefore, electrochemical sensing technology has the potential to change the way we see quality control analysis in the environment. It can provide a cheap, sensitive, portable, and easy-to-use method of application in quality control analysis. Thus, this research aims to develop multi-sensors based on screen-printed electrodes, which have characteristics of low cost, high sensitivity, selectivity, and rapid analysis. The novel methods in this research proved their efficiency to detect analytes of interest in environmental media with high sensitivity, excellent stability, short response time, and have the potential to be integrated into a multi-parameter system sensing for on-field monitoring.
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Electrochemical sensor , Heavy metals , Pesticides , Nafion-based nanomaterials , Screen printed electrodes
Albalawi, I. E. 2023. Development of ultrasensitive electrochemical sensors based on nanocomposites for environmental applications. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.