Pharmaceutical drugs have flooded wastewater and water treatment plants have few ways of screening all of them out. The drugs enter groundwater and public water supplies, causing dangerous reactions in wildlife and entering our drinking water.
Getting rid of the drugs now may be a matter of getting hold of pomegranates.
Compounds known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) have shown promise in pulling drugs from water. However, the materials used are expensive, in part because they’re scarce.
At the University of Stockholm in Sweden, scientists have found a more practical, and affordable, version.
They pulled a compound called ellagic acid from pomegranates and combined it with zirconium.
This new MOF not only pulled a significant portion of the offending drugs from wastewater but also broke them down into harmless elements under ultraviolet light.
TRENDPOST: Finding new MOFs or similar materials that can grab drugs and neutralize them in wastewater is another task well-suited to artificial intelligence.