Japanese researchers develop sensor to detect water-soluble polymers in wastewater

November 15, 2021 |

In Japan, a peptide sensor to detect water-soluble polymers in wastewater, a major contributor to pollution on par with microplastics, has been developed by scientists from Tokyo Institute of Technology. The new technique takes advantage of the bonding that occurs between peptides and different polymers to train a machine learning algorithm that can identify a large number of pollutants in a single solution.

From dying coral reefs to diminishing fish populations, marine pollution due to plastics is a growing global concern. Much of the recent conversation on plastic pollution has revolved around microplastics, tiny bits of plastic that are extremely difficult to remove from water. But there is increasing interest in water-soluble synthetic polymers as a source of marine pollution, especially with regard to the risks they pose to soil and water environments. Being water-soluble, they cannot be recovered using normal filtration techniques. Developing alternative approaches to remove these pollutants is key. Thus, understanding the exact nature of the water-soluble polymer pollutant, as well as quantifying its amount in wastewater has become a focal point for researchers.

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Category: Research

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