“Super sponge” promises effective toxic clean-up of lakes and water sources.
Mercury is very toxic and can cause long-term health damage, but removing it from water is challenging. To address this problem, University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Sciences (CFANS) Professor Abdennour Abbas and his lab team created a sponge that can absorb mercury from a polluted water source within seconds.
Thanks to the application of nanotechnology, the team developed a sponge with outstanding mercury adsorption properties where mercury contaminates can be removed from tap, lake, and industrial wastewater to below detectable limits in less than 5 seconds (or about 5 minutes for industrial wastewater).
The sponge converts the contamination into a non-toxic complex so it can be disposed of in a landfill after use. The sponge also kills bacterial and fungal microbes.
This is an important advancement for the state of Minnesota, as more than two thirds of the waters on Minnesota’s 2004 Impaired Waters List are impaired because of mercury contamination.
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