Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Researchers develop better membranes for water treatment, drug delivery

U. of I. Photo

Mark Clark, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, and colleagues have developed a new generation of biomimetic membranes for water treatment and drug delivery.
U. of I. Photo
Mark Clark, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, and colleagues have developed a new generation of biomimetic membranes for water treatment and drug delivery.

Abstract:
Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new generation of biomimetic membranes for water treatment and drug delivery. The highly permeable and selective membranes are based on the incorporation of the functional water channel protein Aquaporin Z into a novel A-B-A triblock copolymer.

Researchers develop better membranes for water treatment, drug delivery

CHAMPAIGN, IL | Posted on November 29th, 2007

The experimental membranes, currently in the form of vesicles, show significantly higher water transport than existing reverse-osmosis membranes used in water purification and desalination. The researchers describe their membranes in a paper accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper is to be published in PNAS Online Early Edition this week.

"We took a close look at how kidneys so efficiently transport water through a membrane with aquaporins, and then we found a way to duplicate that in a synthetic system," said Manish Kumar, a graduate research assistant at the U. of I., and the paper's lead author.

Unlike most biological membranes, polymer membranes are very stable and can withstand considerable pressure - essential requirements for water purification and desalination processes. "Placing aquaporins in materials that we can use outside the body opens doors to industrial and municipal applications," Kumar said.

To make their protein-polymer membranes, the researchers begin with a polymer that self-assembles into hollow spheres called vesicles. While the polymer is assembling, the researchers add Aquaporin Z - a protein found in Escherichia coli bacteria.

"Aquaporin Z makes a hole in the membrane that only water can go through, so it's both fast and selective," said membrane specialist Mark Clark, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and one of the paper's co-authors.

"By varying the amount of Aquaporin Z, we can vary the membrane's permeability," Kumar said, "which could be very useful for drug-delivery applications."

With their high permeability and high selectivity, the biomimetic membranes also are ideal for water treatment by desalination, which is becoming increasingly important for water purification in semiarid coastal regions.

When tested, the productivity of the Aquaporin Z-incorporated polymer membranes was more than 10 times greater than other salt-rejecting polymeric membranes.

Currently, the experimental polymer membranes exist only as small vesicles. "Our next step is to convert the vesicles into larger, more practical membranes," Kumar said. "We also want to optimize the membranes for maximum permeability."

In addition to Clark and Kumar, co-authors of the paper are research professor Julie Zilles at the U. of I., and chemistry professor Wolfgang Meier and doctoral student Mariusz Grzelakowski, both at the University of Basel in Switzerland.

Funding was provided by the Swiss National Center of Competence in Nanoscale Science, the Swiss National Science Foundation and the University of Illinois.

####

About University of Illinois
At Illinois, research shapes the campus identity, stimulates classroom instruction and serves as a springboard for public engagement activities throughout the world. Opportunities abound for graduate students to develop independent projects and launch their own careers as researchers while working alongside faculty and assisting in their research. Illinois continues its long tradition of groundbreaking accomplishments with remarkable new discoveries and achievements that inspire and enrich the lives of people around the world.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
James E. Kloeppel
Physical Sciences Editor
217-244-1073


Mark Clark
217-898-2676

Copyright © University of Illinois

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Nanomedicine

Researchers developed nanoparticle based contrast agent for dual modal imaging of cancer June 21st, 2017

Learning with light: New system allows optical “deep learning”: Neural networks could be implemented more quickly using new photonic technology June 12th, 2017

Mussels add muscle to biocompatible fibers: Rice University chemists develop hydrogel strings using compound found in sea creatures June 9th, 2017

Making vessels leaky on demand could aid drug delivery:Rice University scientists use magnets and nanoparticles to open, close gaps in blood vessels June 8th, 2017

Discoveries

Atomic imperfections move quantum communication network closer to reality June 25th, 2017

Research accelerates quest for quicker, longer-lasting electronics: UC Riverside-led research makes topological insulators magnetic well above room temperatures June 25th, 2017

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Enhanced photocatalytic activity by Cu2O nanoparticles integrated H2Ti3O7 nanotubes June 21st, 2017

Announcements

Atomic imperfections move quantum communication network closer to reality June 25th, 2017

Research accelerates quest for quicker, longer-lasting electronics: UC Riverside-led research makes topological insulators magnetic well above room temperatures June 25th, 2017

U.S. Air Force Research Lab Taps IBM to Build Brain-Inspired AI Supercomputing System: Equal to 64 million neurons, new neurosynaptic supercomputing system will power complex AI tasks at unprecedented speed and energy efficiency June 23rd, 2017

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Water

Smart materials used in ultrasound behave similar to water, Penn chemists report June 16th, 2017

Plasmonics could bring sustainable society, desalination tech June 2nd, 2017

Using light to propel water : With new method, MIT engineers can control and separate fluids on a surface using only visible light April 25th, 2017

Graphene holds up under high pressure: Used in filtration membranes, ultrathin material could help make desalination more productive April 24th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project