Mercury (Hg) contamination is a problem that currently affects not only the environment
but also human health. Various types of commercial adsorbents have been proposed for its removal.
Silver is a noble element that can chemically adsorb mercury, forming amalgams. However, its use
as an adsorbent presents the following disadvantages: rapid surface saturation and high cost. These
limitations can easily be overcome using silver nanoparticles (AgNPs). With a size of less than 100
nm, their reactivity, their high surface area, and a minimal amount of metallic precursor, they are
ideal candidates for mercury removal. This study presents a compendium of the use of conventional
mercury adsorbents and the use of AgNPs for their colorimetric detection and removal in different
matrices, in both the aqueous and gas phases of Hg0
and Hg2+. In addition, the number of patents
available in each case is analyzed. AgNPs as colorimetric sensors allow quick detection of mercury
in-situ. Additionally, the adsorption systems formed with AgNPs, allow obtaining stable and chemically inert complexes, facilitating their recycling. It is concluded that the use of AgNPs is particularly
efficient for the detection and removal of mercury, presenting a removal percentage of over 90%. As
a result of the patents analyzed, its use is perfectly applicable at an industrial level.