Research: Modified Clay Can Remove Toxins From Water
An article from WaterWorld reports a newly-introduced water purification technology by Petra Rudolf, a professor of Experimental Solid State Physics at the University of Groningen. Rudolf teamed up with her colleagues from Greece to present her findings on effectively removing toxic herbicide using slits in clay material to filter water.
Herbicide chloridazon is widely spread in the Netherlands due to many sugar beets being grown from farms. This type of compound is not only known to be toxic to humans, but also doesn’t break down in nature, and will eventually seep into the groundwater. While chloridazon concentrations in groundwater are currently below the safety threshold, they are still likely to increase as it is persistent in the environment.
In the article, Rudolf also explained that water purification plants can break down chloridazon through UV light. However, the breakdown products of chloridazon itself are toxic. Fortunately, Rudolf figured out a technique to make well-defined nanocavities in clay which she adapted to trap the herbicide.
Clay is a layered mineral. It’s layers have a negative charge and are separated by positive ions. Rudolf and her colleagues were able to replace the clay’s molecular pillars with their own design. Which resulted in the functionalized clay absorbing herbicide in significant amounts. Moreover, the clay can also be reused again through heating to remove the herbicides.
Read more details about this newly-introduced toxin removal technique here in this article.
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