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April 24th, 2008
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded nearly US$ 700 000 to researchers at the University of Cincinnati in order to establish a baseline understanding of how toxins produced by cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) can be changed by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, a process used to disinfect drinking water.
Titanium dioxide, a ceramic material frequently used in paints and powders, is being investigated by Dionysiou's group as a catalyst to generate photochemical and chemical reactions that destroy the toxins in water. They use this catalyst fixed on a support to lengthen the effect of the catalyst and to keep the catalyst itself out of the water. The catalyst is made with very high surface area using nanotechnology methods and containing very small quantities of non-metals that make the catalyst operate using visible light, taking advantage of the sun's light.
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