Removal and degradation of microcystins from drinking water using biofilters

Description:

Project ID:  D2018-52

 

Background

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) release microcystin (MC) toxins that can end up in drinking water, causing a range of illnesses, including liver cancer. Currently, water treatment facilities remove or degrade MC using chlorination, ozonation, activated carbon adsorption, and/or floculation. However, those techniques are not ideal because of high costs, limited removal efficiencies, and they lead to the production of harmful byproducts or hazardous waste.

 

Invention Description

Researchers have identified bacterial isolates that are able to degrade MC toxins at a daily rate of 2 to 19 parts per billion. Based on recorded MC toxin levels in Lake Erie in recent years, these degradation rates would be able to effectively remove MC from drinking water supplies. The bacterial isolates also have been shown to form robust biofilms on filtering substrates, such as sand, indicating that they could be used in biologically-active filters - biofilters. Biofilters are a cost-effective and safe alternative to the use of chemicals and other conventional water treatment practices.

   

Applications

-       Filtration and degradation of MCs for aqueous solutions, such as drinking water

 

Advantages

-       Reduce or eliminate use of harmful chemicals

-       Bacterial isolates are inexpensive and easily grown

-       Uses natural bacteria that are not known to cause human disease

-       Standard water treatment facilities chlorinate water after filtration, eliminating the potential risk of adding bacteria to a water treatment facility

-       No need to treat for toxic byproducts

 

IP Status:       Patent Pending

 

Patent Information:
Category(s):
Energy
Environmental
For Information, Contact:
Katherine Pollard
Licensing Associate
The University of Toledo
419-530-6228
katherine.pollard@utoledo.edu
Inventors:
Jason Huntley
Alison Thees
Keywords:
Biofilters
HAB
Harmful algal bloom
MC
Microcystin