Molecular ‘Catcher’s Mitts’ Clear Water of Carcinogens

Comment by Robert Kriss, C2ST, Editor

Research chemists at Northwestern University’s Institute for Sustainability and Energy have engineered cup-shaped molecules from corn that can grab and neutralize carcinogens in our water supply. Very low concentrations of the carcinogens can significantly increase the risk of cancer. For example, just a few drops of the carcinogens, containing millions of potentially cancer-causing molecules, in a volume of water found in an Olympic-sized swimming pool can cause trouble. The molecular catcher’s mitts are equally small: Millions of them can fit into a space the size of a sugar-cube. Filters equipped with the breakthrough material remove the carcinogens from water more effectively than commonly used activated carbon filters, and the filters can be reused after a simple washing step that takes place at room temperature. The researchers have started a company, CycloPure, to commercialize this material for home and institutional use. Now that’s a use of corn that nobody saw coming. This innovation is another example of the extraordinary ingenuity of Chicago-area scientists who are developing technologies that matter. Click here to learn more about this exciting research and startup.

Northwestern Chemists Develop New Methods to Remove Toxins from Drinking Water

By Mike M. McMahon

Originally Posted at Northwestern

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