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University of Florida Researchers Develop Filter Coating That Traps Bacteria and Viruses

swimming pool filter with contaminated water in a laboratory showed it trapped more than 90 percent of pathogens, compared with between 10 and 30 percent for the same uncoated filter, said Samuel Farrah, a professor of microbiology and cell science in UF's College of Agriculture.

But swimming pool filters aren't the only application, Shah said. Coated filters could also prove useful for soldiers or hikers whose only source of drinking water may be contaminated ponds or streams. While such water can be treated now with chlorine, the chemical does not eliminate toxins present in dead bacteria, and some bacteria are chlorine-resistant, Shah said.

"The idea is, you could supply a plastic bottle with this filter built-in," he said.

The coating may also prove useful to the silicon chip manufacturing industry, Shah said. Chip makers use large amounts of ultra pure water to polish silicon wafers. Depending on the availability and cost of water, they sometimes have to install purification or distillation equipment to recycle the water. These processes are expensive, and the filter coating promises a cheaper recycling technology, Shah said.

Shah, Koopman, Farrah and Brij Moudgil, professor of materials science engineering and director of the ERC, developed the coating. Several companies have expressed interest in developing the technology further for commercial purposes, Koopman said.

Writer: Aaron Hoover

Sources: Dinesh Shah, 352-392-0877; Ben Koopman, 392-7104


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Contact: Aaron Hoover
ahoover@ufl.edu
(352) 2392-0186
University of Florida
5-Aug-1998


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