Re­searchers at IISc de­velop mem­branes for safe drink­ing wa­ter

BioSpectrum (India) - - SCIENCE NEWS -

Re­searchers at the In­dian In­sti­tute of Sci­ence (IISc) Ben­galuru have devel­oped a wa­ter-fil­ter mem­brane with cop­per ions to make drink­ing wa­ter safe. The team of re­searchers made the com­monly used polyvinyli­dene flu­o­ride (PVDF) wa­ter-fil­ter mem­brane to pre­vent bio­foul­ing and kill bac­te­ria. To do this they first made the in­ert PVDF mem­brane func­tional by blend­ing it with a poly­mer (styrene maleic an­hy­dride or SMA).

The SMA poly­mer coated on the mem­brane, which gets par­tially hy­drol­ysed when in contact with wa­ter, in­ter­acts with the outer mem­brane of the bac­te­ria to pro­duce disc shaped struc­tures. It sol­u­bilises the mem­brane pro­tein but does not kill bac­te­ria. But the in­ter­ac­tion with the bac­te­rial cell mem­brane leads to re­lease of a par­tic­u­lar en­zyme (phos­phatase and/or phos­pho­li­pase).

This en­zyme re­leased from the bac­te­ria cleaves the poly­mer coat­ing found on cop­per ox­ide re­sult­ing in con­trolled re­lease of cop­per ions from the mem­brane into wa­ter. These mem­branes with con­trolled re­lease of cop­per ion may turn out to be a po­ten­tial can­di­date for wa­ter pu­rifi­ca­tion ap­pli­ca­tions with en­hanced an­tibac­te­rial and an­tifoul­ing per­for­mances.

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