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Water Detoxification by a Substrate-Bound Catecholamine Adsorbent

Inspired by the incredible ability of mussels to attach to surfaces Northwestern University researchers have developed a highly efficient reagent for removal of various toxic molecules from water. Dr. Messersmith and colleagues coated glass beads with polydopamine the synthetic mimic of mussel adhesive proteins which gave them the ability to remove toxic metals radioactive isotopes and insecticide from water. Unlike currently available adsorbents polydopamine-coated beads can be synthesized in a single step and do not require further functionalization to increase their substrate range. Additionally this adsorbent can be regenerated either by acid treatment that removes the toxic substrate or by complete removal of polydopamine and re-coating of the beads. These characteristics make polydopamine-coated beads an attractive solution to bioremediation issues around the world. Applications: 1) Environmental remediation 2) Treatment of radioactive waste on-site (hospitals and nuclear power plants)


1) High capacity for binding toxic metals 2) Able to bind organic toxins and radioisotopes 3) Easy and inexpensive to synthesize 4) Simple regeneration of polydopamine coated beads 5) No secondary pollutants as a result of processing

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