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Latest American Chemical Society Podcast: New Water Filter Kills Disease-Causing Bacteria

November 18, 2010

The latest episode in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) award-winning podcast series, “Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions,” focuses on development and successful initial tests of an inexpensive new filtering technology that kills up to 98 percent of disease-causing bacteria in water in just seconds without clogging.

The technology could aid many of the almost one billion people lacking access to clean, safe drinking water. A report on the work appears in the American Chemical Society’s monthly journal Nano Letters.

Most water purifiers do their jobs by trapping bacteria in tiny pores of filter material. Pushing water through those filters, however, requires electric pumps and demands lots of energy. The filters also can get clogged, so they often have to be replaced. A new material developed by Yi Cui, Ph.D., of Stanford University could avoid many deficiencies of traditional filters. For starters, it does not trap bacteria like most technologies. It kills them outright.

“The removal of bacteria and other organisms from water is very important, not only for drinking and sanitation but also in industry as there’s a frequent need to replace filters due to clogging,” Cui says in the podcast. “The product we’ve developed could dramatically lower the cost of many filtration technologies for water as well as food, air, and pharmaceuticals, where the need to replace filters is common and very challenging.”

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