German China

Water Treatment How a By-Product of Vegetable Oil Removes Heavy Metals from Water

Source: Press release

Related Vendor

Scientists at NTU, Singapore, in collaboration with ETH Zurich, Switzerland (ETHZ), have created a membrane made from a waste by-product of vegetable oil manufacturing, which can filter out heavy metals from contaminated water.

Scientists from NTU in collaboration with ETH Zurich, Switzerland (ETHZ), have created a membrane made from a waste by-product of vegetable oil manufacturing, which can filter out heavy metals from contaminated water.
Scientists from NTU in collaboration with ETH Zurich, Switzerland (ETHZ), have created a membrane made from a waste by-product of vegetable oil manufacturing, which can filter out heavy metals from contaminated water.
(Source: NTU )

A research team at NTU discovered that proteins derived from the by-products of peanut or sunflower oil production can attract heavy metal ions very effectively.

In tests, they showed that this process of attraction, called adsorption, was able to purify contaminated water to a degree that meets international drinking standards.

The production of commercial household vegetable oils generates waste by-products called oilseed meals — protein-rich leftovers that remain after the oil has been extracted from the raw plant.

After extracting the proteins from oilseed meal, the team turned them into nano-sized protein amyloid fibrils, which are rope-like structures made of tightly-wound proteins. These protein amyloid fibrils are drawn to heavy metals and act like a molecular sieve, trapping heavy metal ions as they pass by.

The researchers combined the extracted amyloid fibrils with activated carbon — a commonly-used filtration material – to form a hybrid membrane. They found that their membranes filtered up to 99.89 % of heavy metals. Among the three metals tested, the filter was most effective for lead and platinum, followed by chromium.

The researchers’ membrane has the potential to be a cheap, low-power, sustainable, and scalable method to decontaminate heavy metals from water. Their membrane provides a sustainable use for oilseed waste which would otherwise be discarded or used as food for animal feedstock.

Another big advantage, the researchers say, is that this filtration requires little or no energy, unlike other methods like reverse osmosis that require electricity.

References: Paper titled “Plant-based amyloids from food waste for removal of heavy metals from contaminated water”, published in Chemical Engineering Journal, 30 April 2022. DOI:10.1016/j.cej.2022.136513

(ID:48445845)

Subscribe to the newsletter now

Don't Miss out on Our Best Content

By clicking on „Subscribe to Newsletter“ I agree to the processing and use of my data according to the consent form (please expand for details) and accept the Terms of Use. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Unfold for details of your consent