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Work of North Carolina State Univ. researchers shows how to remove radioactive elements from drinking water

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North Carolina University (USA) researchers use natural polymers (hemicellulose and chitosan) to remove radioactive contaminants from potable water.

Hemicellulose and chitosan, both are natural polymers. Hemicellulose is a polysaccharide and found in most of the plant cell walls along with cellulose. Unlike cellulose, hemicellulose is amorphous and thus easily hydrolysable (undergoes hydrolysis). On the other hand, chitosan comes from chitin, another polysaccharide. Chitosan is known for its use in wastewater and potable water treatment plants. (for more on chitosan please read in the popular article section “Chitin and Chitosan” by Dr. Clermont Beaulieu of this site).

Prof. Joel Pawlak and Prof. Richard Venditti collaborated on the project. Researchers stated that the new material developed from hemicelluloses and chitosan binds iodide in the water and could be disposed easily without any risk to humans or the environment.

[Reference: News release: April 13, 2011 ]