Biomolecular Materials for the Removal of Heavy Metals and Organic Contaminants from Water

M. Francis
University of California, Berkeley,
United States

Keywords: water, heavy metals, contaminants


The efficient removal of metal ions from water sources is critically important in municipal, agricultural, and industrial settings. This creates a constant need for new molecules that can bind to particular metal ions in the presence of others. Unfortunately, it remains challenging to design selective ligands for metal ions from first principles alone. To accelerate their discovery, we have developed a combinatorial chemistry platform for the simultaneous evaluation of thousands of metal binding candidates. This technique has afforded the first available binders that can chelate Cr(VI) present in stream and ocean water sources, as well as new ligands that can remove Cd(II) species from water sources and even blood serum.