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Invented a filter that eliminates water from viruses

 
26 April 2017, 09:00

Israeli scientists-chemists have invented specific structures of organic nature, capable of cleaning water from viruses of various calibres. Such information was shared by the periodical Water Research.

"Purification of water from viruses is an important task, the solution of which can simultaneously solve the issue of public safety. An increased level of adenovirus infection in wastewater is already observed in some states of America: adenoviruses often penetrate into sources of drinking water, as well as into public water bodies, "said Dr. Moshe Herzberg, representing Ben Gurion University (Negev).

Over the past ten years, experts have received a lot of reasons for concern: water pollution in settlements, a huge increase in industry - all this has a drastic effect on the state of the environment.

Dr. Herzberg and other university staff have set themselves the goal of maximally eliminating bacteria and viruses from sewage.

It is worth noting that getting rid of water from bacteria is a relatively simple process. What can not be said about viruses that easily overcome any filtration systems that keep microbes on themselves. Specialists guessed how to stop the virus: they invented a special filtration material based on hydrogel - a dense jelly substance, which consists of water and high-polar organic particles.

Hydrogel has been used to purify liquids from microbes and nanoparticles. However, it was found that, as the filtration progressed, the pores of the membranes were strongly clogged and water was poorly passed. After the research conducted by scientists it was found out that the viruses were delayed in such filters not because the pores narrowed and clogged, but because they were covered with different organic substances with charged particles. To put it simply, the viruses did not pass through the filter, as they were repelled by molecules with a positive or negative charge.

Scientists have covered the surface of filters with zwitter ions - they are kind of organic particles, which have a partially extremely positive and extremely negative charge. The first experiment was successful: the membrane filter slightly reduced its throughput, but stopped passing viruses through itself - both small viruses and large ones - up to 170 nm in length.

The researchers calculated that the total number of viruses in the water decreased approximately 1 million times. This allows us to state that water has practically completely cleared from pathogenic microorganisms.

According to scientists, such a filtration system can contain the spread of various toxic infections, noroviruses and adenoviruses that enter the body after drinking dirty water. You can also use portable filtration systems with hydrogel - for example, for water purification in field conditions or in underdeveloped countries where there are no full water supply systems and water treatment facilities.

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Portnov Alexey Alexandrovich

Education: Kiev National Medical University. A.A. Bogomolets, Specialty - "General Medicine"

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