Environmental Protection

Solar-Powered Nanofilters Remove Antibiotics from Waterways

Researchers have developed solar-powered nanofilters that can remove antibiotics from waterways more efficiently than existing practices.

According to research, 80 percent of waterways, such as rivers, lakes, and streams, end up with traces of antibiotics found in their water systems. This is the result of pills being flushed down toilets, discarded in sinks and garbage disposals, and other ways. In order to deal with the amount of antibiotics appearing in those waters, scientists developed solar-powered nanofilters that can clean up the water more efficiently than current practices.

David Wendell and Vikram Kapoor are the scientists were performed the study, and their report has been published in the American Chemical Society’s journal Nano Letters. The two scientists tested capsule-like “vesicles” that contain the same mechanism that allows bacteria to live in areas containing antibiotics. The vesicles act as a pump to remove antibiotics from the bacteria’s cells before any harm can be done.

The scientists then reversed the system, sending the antibiotics into the vesicles where the antibiotics and be collected and recycled or sent to disposal. The vesicles contain the pump and a propulsion system that is run by sunlight, which can also be used to remove metals, hormones, and other materials from water in addition to the antibiotic removal.

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