Coral reefs are diverse underwater ecosystems that are home to 25% of all marine life on Earth. Their welling being has been deteriorating due to ocean acidification, and the health of coral is also under the assault of a standard component of sunscreen lotions—oxybenzone.
Oxybenzone protects our skin by forming colorless crystals that absorb wide spectrum UV light. However, the chemical can also disrupt the DNA of coral, in both its juvenile and adult stages. Released unintentionally to the seawater by divers and beachgoers, oxybenzone accumulates and poses a serious threat to the coral population.
A team of researchers from the University of Puerto Rico has developed magnetic nanoparticles that can soap up contaminant like oxybenzone because of its high affinity and specificity. A large amount of these nanoscale particles can be packaged into a leak-proof capsule and deposited to the locations where corals are poisoned. Once the particles are done soaking up the contaminant, they can be removed from the seabed simply with a magnet.
Source: ACS via Youtube