Professor Rao Yijian’s team from Jiangnan University has developed an efficient algae suppression material through biomimetic design. Inspired by the excellent algicidal activity of cercosporin (CP), a novel metal-free algaecide SiO2@EDU@CP (EDU, N-ethyl-N′-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)urea) with flocculation and photoremoval functions, was successfully designed and prepared in one-step to simultaneously introduce CP and EDU on SiO2 nanoparticles. It could rapidly form algae flocs in 20 min with 97.1% flocculation rate, and remove Microcystis aeruginosa within 12 h with 91.0% algicidal rate under 23 W compact fluorescent light irradiation without any leaked CP detected. Additionally, odorant β-cyclocitral and toxin microcystin-LR were both photodegraded after treatment of SiO2@EDU@CP. Mechanistic studies showed that the introduction of EDU significantly reversed the zeta potential of SiO2-COOH to achieve the flocculation through neutral charge, and the photophysical characterization of SiO2@EDU@CP revealed the improved charge separation ability to generate reactive oxygen species. More importantly, the utility of SiO2@EDU@CP was well demonstrated by its effectiveness for algae from Taihu Lake under natural sunlight and inability to regrow after treatment.
A bio-inspired algicide might prevent cyanobacterial blooms in Taihu lake