"Conducting Nanosponge Electroporation for Affordable and High-Efficiency Disinfection of Bacteria and Viruses in Water"

Chong Liu: Xing Xie, Wenting Zhao, Nian Liu, Peter A. Maraccini, Lauren M. Sassoubre, Alexandria B. Boehm, and Yi Cui; Nano Letters, 08/28/13.

Additional Authors: Xing Xie, Wenting Zhao, Nian Liu, Peter A. Maraccini, Lauren M. Sassoubre, Alexandria B. Boehm, and Yi Cui

Abstract:

High-efficiency, affordable, and low energy water disinfection methods are in great need to prevent diarrheal illness, which is one of the top five leading causes of death over the world. Traditional water disinfection methods have drawbacks including carcinogenic disinfection byproducts formation, energy and time intensiveness, and pathogen recovery. Here, we report an innovative method that achieves high-efficiency water disinfection by introducing nanomaterial-assisted electroporation implemented by a conducting nanosponge filtration device. The use of one-dimensional (1D) nanomaterials allows electroporation to occur at only several volts, which is 2 to 3 orders of magnitude lower than that in traditional electroporation applications. The disinfection mechanism of electroporation prevents harmful byproduct formation and ensures a fast treatment speed of 15 000 L/(h·m2), which is equal to a contact time of 1 s. The conducting nanosponge made from low-cost polyurethane sponge coated with carbon nanotubes and silver nanowires ensures the device’s affordability. This method achieves more than 6 log (99.9999%) removal of four model bacteria, including Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica Typhimirium, Enterococcus faecalis, and Bacillus subtilis, and more than 2 log (99%) removal of one model virus, bacteriophage MS2, with a low energy consumption of only 100 J/L.