From: University of Saskatchewan
Published October 12, 2017 08:11 AM

Researchers explore ways to remove antibiotics polluting lakes and rivers

Pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics, are an increasingly common pollutant in water systems, said Catherine Hui Niu, associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan.

After pharmaceuticals are used in humans and animals, traces are excreted and end up in sewage and, from there, into the environment. Their presence in waterways has raised concerns about potential risks to human health and ecosystems. To date there has been no effective way to remove them from water sources.

There are some materials that attract pharmaceutical pollutants to them in a process called adsorption, and could hypothetically be used to help remove them from water, says Niu. But their adsorption capacities need to be enhanced to make them useful for large scale clean-up efforts.

Barley straw, the leafy part of barley plants, has adsorption properties that show promise for helping remove certain antibiotics from water.

 

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Photo via University of Saskatchewan.

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