1. Project title


Development and characterization of solid apatite matrices capable of storing inorganic pollutants: structure and adsorption processes.

Project acronym : HAPDEPOL


  1. Partners


Romanian team

CEA team

Project leader[1]


Dr. Predoi Daniela

Prof. Dacheux Nicolas







Tel :

Fax :


Laboratory of Multifunctional Materials and Structures

National Institute of Materials Physics


Atomistilor 105 Bis, Magurele 077125, Romania





Laboratory of Interfaces of Materials in Evolution (LIME)

Institut de Chimie Séparative de Marcoule - UMR 5257


Bat 426, Centre de Marcoule, BP 17171
30207 Bagnols sur Cèze Cedex, France

(+33) 4 66 33 92 05

(+33) 4 66 79 76 11




  3.1 “State of the art” in the field


“We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”


Due to the extensive use of new technologies in the agricultural and industrial field, soil and groundwater were severely polluted with elements that may pose a serious threat to the environment. For that purpose in the last 10 years studies concerning new materials that can be successfully used for removal of heavy metals and other toxic elements from contamined soil and water were of a great interest. Water pollution by emission of carbon monoxide and nitrogen,  the rarity of drinking water  on the planet, particularly in its southern hemisphere, had led scientists around the world  to concern about environmental problems related to drinking water and towards developing new remediation methods for water and air. The reclamation of contaminated soils with disperse and low levels of problematic organic, metal and metalloid contaminants calls for the applications of technologies that are both effective and cost-competitive. Contaminated soils present a huge environmental problem in developed countries that have many abandoned post-industrial sites. There are up to 3 million potentially contaminated sites in the EU and member states have at least 250,000 polluted sites that require urgent attention (EEA, 2007). Contamination of soils and groundwaters by inorganic (nitrates, trace metals and metalloids) and organic pollutants (pesticides, herbicides, PAHs etc.) is indeed an international problem [1-3]. Soil and groundwater contamination are closely linked because methods targeting soil contamination indirectly affect the quality of groundwater and vice versa. Overall inorganic contaminants are found far more commonly than organic contaminants. In contrast to organic pollutants trace elements cannot be eliminated as they are always able to be remobilised by natural transformation processes depending on their chemical and physical forms. Conventional clean-up techniques for the remediation of trace elements contamination are often expensive and clearly not sustainable [4-7]. In fact they are mainly based on either simple disposal or isolation of contaminated soil [8-12]. Remediation methods are indeed carried out either in-situ with the contaminated soil remaining in place or ex-situ where the contaminated soil is excavated. The most common and popular remediation method is based on the removal of the contaminated soil from the site and its storage in a landfill site. However there is a growing political pressure in Europe to reduce the amount of contaminated soil disposed of as waste. Landfilled contaminated soils consume valuable landfill space and thus is not in line with the European policy of choosing waste avoidance, recycling and treatment prior to landfilling (Landfill Directive 1999/31/EU).Moreover the regeneration of contaminated soils is important as soil is a finite resource. In fact we are losing soil at an estimated rate of 11.6 ton ha-1 y-1 [13].

Sustainable remediation is thus based on in-situ removal or trapping of contaminants. The remediation of inorganic contaminants usually involves breaking the pathway between the contamination source and the receptor by manipulating the soil chemistry; even though the contaminants remain in the soils they become immobilised by precipitation and sorption reactions [14]. Carbonate, lime and phosphate amendments have been long used to lower metal toxicity to plants [15]. Common used mineral amendments include silicate, aluminosilicates or clay minerals, forms of sulphate, oxide or hydroxide. Since the 1990s the use of engineered particles has been developed in a variety of environmental applications such water purification, wastewater treatment [16]. In the environmental area, nanoparticles are promising objects capable of providing solutions to many problems such as pollution of deep waters and soils [17] treatment of drinking water [18], control of pollution [19] or recycling of waste. Factors such as composition, structure, water solubility, aggregation potential and surface coating may be important in the toxicity of different particles and their behaviour in the environment [20].

Our project is based on a multidisciplinary approach involving physics, physical chemistry, mineralogy, microbiology, ecotoxicology and human toxicology. The project objectives are to highlight the major contributions in development of a new synthesis method for elaborating solid apatite matrices capable of retaining inorganic pollutants. 

The project aim is to develop scientific research on phosphocalcic apatite in order to exploit those phosphates that represent a form of natural wealth and to prepare a porous material, capable of effectively eliminating inorganic pollutants like heavy metals from contaminated soils and water.

The study we will undertake in this project regarding adsorption properties on well crystallized porous apatite and on less crystallized porous apatite is very rare. The lack of complete studies concerning techniques  for obtaining less crystallized porous apatite with  good adsorption properties make the research within this project very important both national and international. We are thus motivated to develop and test the adsorbent quality of these solid apatite matrices. The main goal of this project is to put in place a new method of synthesis and elaborate solid apatitic matrices capable of retaining inorganic pollutants. Our studies will be focused on Pb2+ ions. The study of Pb2+ ions adsorption on the porous apatite and commercial apatite’s in the aqueous medium will be conducted. The comparison between the adsorption properties of Pb2+ ions on the commercial apatite’s and the synthesized apatite’s represent another target of this project and also a novelty in the field.



[1]. S.J.T. Pollard , A. Brookes , N. Earl , J. Lowe , T. Kearney , C.P. Nathanail ,Integrating decision tools for the sustainable management of land contamination,Science of the Total Environment, 325 (2004) 15–28.

[2]. P.J. Hooker, C.P. Nathanail, Risk-based characterisation of lead in urban soils, , Chemical Geology, 226 (2006) 340 – 351.

[3]. C. N.Mulligan,R.N.Young, B.F.Gibbs, Heavy metal removal from sediments by biosurfactants, , Journal Of Hazardous Materials ,85 (2001) 111-125.

[4]. C. N.Mulligan,R.N.Young, B.F.Gibbs Surfactant-enhanced remediation of contaminated soil: a review, Engineering Geology , 60 (2001) 371-380

[5].S.A. Parrya, M.E. Hodson, E.H. Oelkers, S.J. Kemp, Is silt the most influential soil grain size fraction? , Applied Geochemistry, 26 (2011) 119-122.

[6]. Y. T. He , A. G. Fitzmaurice, A. Bilgin, S. Choi, P. O’Day, J. Horst, J. Harrington, H. J. Reisinger, D.R. Burris, J. G. Hering,, Geochemical processes controlling arsenic mobility in groundwater: A case study of arsenic mobilization and natural attenuation, Applied Geochemistry 25 (2010) 69–80.

[7]. D.Vlassopoulos, S. A. Wood, Gold speciation in natural waters: I. Solubility and hydrolysis reactions of gold in aqueous solution, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 54 (1990) 3-12,

[8]. D. Vlassopoulos, S. A Wood, A. Mucci, Gold speciation in natural waters: II. The importance of organic complexing—Experiments with some simple model ligands  Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 54 (1990) 1575-1586.

[9]. W. Jinxin; L. Rongjin; Y. Guo et al Removal of methyl chloroform in a coastal salt marsh of eastern China, CHEMOSPHERE  65 (2006) 1371-1380.

[10] G. Cornelis et al.Physico-chemical and biological parameters determine metal bioavailability in soils , van G Cornelis A. M., SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT, 406 (2008) 385-395.

[11]. G. Cornelis, S.Poppe, T.Van Gerven et al., Geochemical modelling of arsenic and selenium leaching in alkaline water treatment sludge from the production of non-ferrous metals , JOURNAL OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS ,159  (2008) 271-279 .

[12]. C. E. Martı́nez, M. B .McBride , Aging of coprecipitated Cu in alumina: changes in structural location, chemical form, and solubility, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 64 (2000) 1729-1736.

[13]. N.S. Bolan, D.C. Adriano,  P. Duraisamy et al Immobilization and phytoavailability of cadmium in variable charge soils. III. Effect of biosolid compost addition , PLANT AND SOIL, 256   (2003) 231-241.

 [14]. N.S. Bolan, D.C. Adriano,  P. Duraisamy et al., Immobilization and phytoavailability of cadmium in variable charge soils. I. Effect of phosphate addition , PLANT AND SOIL, 250   (2003) 83-94. 

[15]. N.S. Bolan; V.P. Duraisamy, Role of inorganic and organic soil amendments on immobilisation and phytoavailability of heavy metals: a review involving specific case studies ,   AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF SOIL RESEARCH , 41 (2003) 533-555.

[16]. N. C. Mueller, B.Nowack , Exposure modeling of engineered nanoparticles in the environment , ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, 42 (2008) 4447-4453.

[17]. S.Tandy, K. Bossart,R. Mueller et al.,Extraction of heavy metals from soils using biodegradable chelating agents , ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, 38  (2004) 937-944.

[18]. J.M McArthur, D.M Banerjee, K.A Hudson-Edwards, R Mishra, R Purohit, P Ravenscroft, A Cronin, R.J Howarth, A Chatterjee, T Talukder, D Lowry, S Houghton, D.K Chadha, Natural organic matter in sedimentary basins and its relation to arsenic in anoxic ground water: the example of West Bengal and its worldwide implications , Applied Geochemistry,19 (2004)1255-1293.

 [19]. A.F. Ngomsik, A. Bee, M. Draye et al.,Magnetic nano- and microparticles for metal removal and environmental applications: a review , COMPTES RENDUS CHIMIE, 8 (2005) 963-970.

[20]. B.Nowack,  T.D. Bucheli ,Occurrence, behavior and effects of nanoparticles in the environment, ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION, 150 (20075-22.



 Articles published

1.      C. S. Ciobanu, S. L. Iconaru, P. Le Coustumer, L. V. Constantin, D. Predoi, Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:324

2.      C. S. Ciobanu, S. L. Iconaru, P. Le Coustumer, D. Predoi, Journal of Spectroscopy, Volume 2013, Article ID 471061, 5 pages, de.doi.org/10.1155/2013/471061

3.      S. L. Iconaru, A. M.Prodan, P. Le Coustumer, D.Predoi, Journal of Chemistry, Volume 2013, Article ID 412079, 6 pages, de.doi.org/10.1155/2013/412079

[1] The CV of the project leaders should be attached.