Montreal (UPI) Feb 23, 2011
Canadian researchers say they're working on a cheap, portable, paper-based water filter coated with silver nanoparticles for use in emergencies and disasters.
When water supplies are disrupted during events such as floods, tsunamis and earthquakes, diseases like gastroenteritis, giardiasis and even cholera can spread because of a shortage of clean drinking water.
Researchers at McGill University in Quebec have been developing an inexpensive way of filtering water using silver nanoparticles, a university release said Wednesday.
"Silver has been used to clean water for a very long time," chemistry professor Derek Gray says.
"The Greeks and Romans kept their water in silver jugs."
But though silver is used to get rid of bacteria in a variety of settings, from bandages to antibacterial socks, it has never been used systematically to clean water, he said.
Gray and fellow researchers coated thick hand-sized sheets of an absorbent porous paper with silver nanoparticles and then poured live bacteria through it.
Even when the paper contained just a small quantity of silver, the filter was able to kill nearly all the bacteria and produce water that meets standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gray said.
The filter is not envisaged as a routine water purification system, but rather as a way of providing rapid small-scale assistance in emergency settings, he said.
"It works well in the lab," Gray said. "Now we need to improve it and test it in the field."
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Nanomaterial filters bacteria from water
Buffalo, N.Y. (UPI) Feb 22, 2011
U.S. researchers say a newly developed nanomaterial could help solve the age-old public health problem of removing harmful bacteria from drinking water. Working with a special kind of polymer called a block copolymer, researchers at the University of Buffalo have synthesized a filter nanomembrane containing pores large enough for water to slip through easily but too small for bacteria, ... read more
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