Microplastic Removal and Degradation by Mussel-Inspired Adhesive Magnetic/Enzymatic Microrobots

Huaijuan Zhou, Carmen C. Mayorga-Martinez, Martin Pumera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Ubiquitous pollution by microplastics is causing significant deleterious effects on marine life and human health through the food chain and has become a big challenge for the global ecosystem. It is of great urgency to find a cost-efficient and biocompatible material to remove microplastics from the environment. Mimicking basic characteristics of the adhesive chemistry practiced by marine mussels, adhesive polydopamine (PDA)@Fe3O4 magnetic microrobots (MagRobots) are prepared by coating Fe3O4 nanoparticles with a polymeric layer of dopamine via one-step self-polymerization. In addition, lipase is loaded on the PDA@Fe3O4 MagRobots’ surface to perform microplastic enzymatic degradation. The synthesized MagRobots, which are externally triggered by transversal rotating magnetic field, have the capacity to clear away the targeted microplastics due to their strong sticky characteristics. With the adhesive PDA@Fe3O4 MagRobots on their surfaces, the microplastics can be navigated along an arbitrarily predefined path by a rotating field and removed using a directional magnetic field. Such adhesive MagRobots are envisioned to be used in swarms to remove microplastics from aqueous environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2100230
JournalSmall Methods
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sept 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the project Advanced Functional Nanorobots (reg. no. CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/15_003/0000444 financed by the EFRR).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Wiley-VCH GmbH

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)


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