Bio-inspired and biomaterials-based hybrid photocatalysts for environmental detoxification: A review

Amit Kumar*, Gaurav Sharma, Mu Naushad, Ala'a H. Al-Muhtaseb, Alberto García-Peñas, Genene Tessema Mola, Chuanling Si, Florian J. Stadler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

180 Citations (Scopus)


New materials tend to revolutionize scientific community and human race on a larger level. Scientists worldwide have not just been working on some wondrous materials with superior properties but have progressively focused on greener bio-inspired or bio-compatible materials for sustainable development. An increasing number of researchers have been working on using biomaterials as a part of photocatalysts for stability, bio-compatibility, generation of more reactive oxygen species and enhancement of optical absorption. In this review we have focussed on photocatalysts based on biopolymers, biochar, carbons, enzymes and proteins. This review presents various types of bio-inspired nanomaterials and their use as sustainable photocatalysts for degrading various venomous pollutants. The effect of pyrolysis temperature, temperature gradient, feedstock and synthetic route of biochar and carbon on the properties and final performance of derived photocatalysts has also been discussed. The increase in surface area, active adsorption sites, electron shuttling & reservoir properties, high visible absorption, charge separation and biocompatibility have also been elaborated. As far as photocatalytic performance is considered such bio-based photocatalysts are often questioned for their stability under such conditions and poor activity as compared to pure metal-based catalysts. These limitations can be overcome by choice of materials, modifications, new designing routes and coupling of biological methods and photocatalysis for removal of pollutants even from water from waste water treatment plants. Suitable modification to biomolecules as functionalisation has been reported for better adsorption of pollutants. The role of biomaterials in generation of reactive oxygen species, recombination suppression, interactions with pollutants, optical absorption, separation of charge carriers, shuttling and electron flow has also been elaborately explained. The concerns, challenges and future opportunities are also included in this review.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122937
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Publication statusPublished - Feb 15 2020


  • Bio-inspired
  • Biopolymers
  • Engineering
  • Environmental pollution
  • Hybrid materials
  • Photocatalysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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