Navigation Links
A nano-solution to global water problem: Nanomembranes could filter bacteria

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- New nanomaterials research from the University at Buffalo could lead to new solutions for an age-old public health problem: how to separate bacteria from drinking water.

To the naked eye, both water molecules and germs are invisible -- objects so tiny they are measured by the nanometer, a unit of length about 100,000 times thinner than the width of a human hair.

But at the microscopic level, the two actually differ greatly in size. A single water molecule is less than a nanometer wide, while some of the most diminutive bacteria are a couple hundred.

Working with a special kind of polymer called a block copolymer, a UB research team has synthesized a new kind of nanomembrane containing pores about 55 nanometers in diameter -- large enough for water to slip through easily, but too small for bacteria.

The pore size is the largest anyone has achieved to date using block copolymers, which possess special properties that ensure pores will be evenly spaced, said Javid Rzayev, the UB chemist who led the study. The findings were published online on Jan. 31 in Nano Letters and will appear in the journal's print edition later this year, with UB chemistry graduate student Justin Bolton as lead author.

"These materials present new opportunities for use as filtration membranes," said Rzayev, an assistant professor of chemistry. "Commercial membranes have limitations as far as pore density or uniformity of the pore size. The membranes prepared from block copolymers have a very dense distribution of pores, and the pores are uniform."

"There's a lot of research in this area, but what our research team was able to accomplish is to expand the range of available pores to 50 nanometers in diameter, which was previously unattainable by block-copolymer-based methods," Rzayev continued. "Making pores bigger increases the flow of water, which will translate into cost and time savings. At the same time, 50 to 100 nm diameter pores are small enough not to allow any bacteria through. So, that is a sweet spot for this kind of application."

The new nanomembrane owes its special qualities to the polymers that scientists used to create it. Block copolymers are made up of two polymers that repel one another but are "stitched" together at one end to form the single copolymer.

When many block copolymers are mixed together, their mutual repulsion leads them to assemble in a regular, alternating pattern. The result of that process, called self-assembly, is a solid nanomembrane comprising two different kinds of polymers.

To create evenly spaced pores in the material, Rzayev and colleagues simply removed one of the polymers. The pores' relatively large size was due to the unique architecture of the original block copolymers, which were made from bottle-brush molecules that resemble round hair brushes, with molecular "bristles" protruding all the way around a molecular backbone.

The research on nanomembranes is part of a larger suite of studies Rzayev is conducting on bottle-brush molecules using a National Science Foundation CAREER award, the foundation's most prestigious award for junior investigators. His other work includes the fabrication of organic nanotubes for drug delivery, and the assembly of layered, bottle-brush polymers that reflect visible light like the wings of a butterfly do.


Contact: Charlotte Hsu
University at Buffalo

Related biology technology :

1. Thousands Rally in Mexico City and Call for Human Rights Protections in Global AIDS Response
2. Verenium Corporation to Present at Canaccord Adams 28th Annual Global Growth Conference
3. Forward step in forecasting global warming
5. Bionovo to Present at Canaccord Adams Global Growth Conference
6. Pharmasset to Present at the Canaccord Adams Global Growth Conference on Tuesday, August 12th
7. Duff & Phelps Acquires Lumin Expert Group To Build Global Intellectual Property Practice
8. Repair Stem Cell Institute Announces Industrys First Standards of Excellence for Global Stem Cell Treatment Centers to Protect Patients from Less-than-Competent Therapeutics
9. Mindray Medical to Attend Morgan Stanley Global Healthcare Unplugged Conference
10. Oncothyreon announces receipt of notice of non-compliance with market value of listed securities standard for listing on The NASDAQ Global Market
11. 3SBio Inc. to Present at the Morgan Stanley Global Healthcare Unplugged Conference
Post Your Comments:
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... Matthew “Tex” VerMilyea, PhD, HCLD, has joined Texas ... oversee all IVF lab procedures as well as continue his research efforts into the ... miles to Auckland, New Zealand to bring home a High Complexity Clinical Laboratory Director ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... ... announced the opening of a new core patient care hub with the opening of ... are part of GSCG’s expansion efforts in Latin America. , Both the Arica and ... from around the world. , The clinics will be headed by Victor Perez, M.D. and ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... HOLLISTON, Mass. , Nov. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... HART ), a biotechnology company developing bioengineered ... has received written notification from The NASDAQ Stock ... minimum bid price requirements. The letter noted that ... of HART,s common stock having exceeded $1.00 per ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Human Longevity, Inc. (HLI), the genomics-based, technology-driven ... Genomics, Inc., a leading genome informatics company offering highly ... The San Diego -based company has ... and Co-founder, Ashley Van Zeeland , Ph.D., who is ... of the deal were not disclosed. ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:10/27/2015)... October 27, 2015 Munich, ... Gaze Mapping technology (ASGM) automatically maps data from mobile ... Glasses , so that they can be quantitatively ... Munich, Germany , October 28-29, 2015. ... data from mobile eye tracking videos created with ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... LAS VEGAS , Oct. 26, 2015 ... an innovator in modern authentication and a founding member ... launch of its latest version of the Nok Nok™ ... to use standards-based authentication that supports existing and emerging ... Suite is ideal for organizations deploying customer-facing applications that ...
(Date:10/23/2015)... California , October 23, 2015 ... (SMI) announce a mobile plug and play integration of ... real-world tasks SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) present ... wearable solutions for eye tracking and physiological data registration. ... SMI Eye Tracking Glasses 2w and physiological ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):