Details about the study appeared on the cover of the journal ‘Environmental Science & Technology.’ (Image:


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Researchers used a traitor bacterium to help them build a graphene water filter that destroys other bacteria. They say that their new water filter can clean water twice as fast as current commercially available ultrafiltration membranes. The research team said that creating the water filter was like ‘3D printing with microorganisms.’

The researchers, from Washington University in St. Louis and Seoul National University, wrote about their work in the journal Environmental Science & Technology (citation below).

Over 10% of the world’s population lacks basic access to drinking water. By 2025, half of everyone on Earth will be living in water-stressed regions.

The authors say they have designed a new membrane technology that purifies water. It also prevents the accumulation of bacteria and other harmful microbes, i.e., biofouling, that diminishes the flow of water.

To build such filtering membranes, they used bacteria that kill other harmful microorganisms.


Nanocellulose and graphene oxide

Srikanth Singamaneni, Young-Shin, and their teams got together to develop an ultrafiltration membrane. They used bacterial nanocellulose and graphene oxide. The bacterial nanocellulose was long-lasting, highly efficient, and environmentally friendly, they found.
Young-Shin Jun is a Professor of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering. Srikanth Singamaneni is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science. They both work at Washington University’s School of Engineering & Applied Science.

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