State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2008DE131B
Title: Removal and Inactivation of Pathogenic Enteric Viruses and Parasites from Water Using Zero-valent Iron
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2008
End Date: 2/28/2009
Congressional District: At-large
Focus Categories: Water Quality, Treatment, Toxic Substances
Keywords: food-borne illnesses, contaminated ground waters, water purification technologies, zero-valent iron
Principal Investigators: Yoskowitz, Adam; Kniel, Kalmia
Federal Funds: $ 1,750
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 3,500
Abstract: Each year within the United States an estimated 76 million cases of food borne illness occur, and increasingly more are associated with contaminated water and fresh produce. Contamination of ground waters and food supplies by pathogenic microorganisms is common in many areas of the United States and public health concerns are increasingly focused on microbial hazards. The need for means to remove microbial hazards from agricultural water is essential for animal health, environmental monitoring, and plant growth.

This project focuses on the application of a novel water-filtration method to remove animal/human pathogens. Iron has been shown to remove viruses and bacteriophage to a high degree. It is not completely clear the actual mechanism by which iron removes and inactivates the viruses, but it has been theorized that the iron oxides may electrostatically bond to surface proteins on the virus thereby inactivating it. Zero-valent iron constantly oxidizes in the presence of water, therefore it constantly reactivates in an aqueous environment. The efficacy of zero-valent iron removal and inactivation of pathogenic, enteric viruses has yet to be determined. Theoretically, the iron should demonstrate an effect on the surface proteins of pathogenic viruses.The primary objective of this project is to determine if zero-valent iron can be used to remove and inactivate Hepatitis A virus and other enteric viruses from water. We will also attempt to determine the effect of iron on the protozoa Cryptosporidium parvum. The study aims to demonstrate that either the pathogens are permanently bound to the iron or irreversibly damaged by the treatment. This research can be used to develop a cheap, easily produced, multi pathogen filter for agricultural, civic, commercial and domestic use.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

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