University of Navarra researcher, Xabier Sevillano, recently defended his PhD thesis on a novel procedure for the elimination of organic waste from water. The chemist's work involved studying how one of the most noxious substances, phenol, could be eliminated. National and European legislations limit the dumping of this product. Nevertheless, many companies generate this toxic product in such a way that contamination of water by phenol is frequent.
To fight this contamination, Xabier Sevillano developed a bioreactor - a polymer capable of retaining the organic contaminants. On the surface of this polymer there arises a series of micro-organisms that destroy the phenol, removing the toxin from the flow of water which thus recovers its healthy state.
A clean, low-cost system
Apart from being a method whereby no noxious by-products are produced, the bioreactor developed in this research is a low-cost one and takes up little space – two very important factors for the companies involved. Also, the product has been tested in various conditions of water volume or flow, contaminant concentration and treatment time and has proved its utility in different situations. Thus, this novel technique adapts to industries with a variable generation of waste products, and which are obliged to treat them while not having other biological systems to do so.
The PhD results give hope to the introduction of clean, economic and highly effective purification processes.
Source: Eurekalert & othersLast reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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