Tiny spheres have been created by scientists that can catch and destroy Bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic chemical used to make plastics that often contaminates water. BPA is commonly used to coat the inside of food cans, bottle tops and water supply lines and was once a component of baby bottles. While BPA that seeps into food and drink is considered safe in low doses, prolonged exposure is suspected of affecting the health of children.
Scientists at Rice university in US have developed something similar to the Venus’ flytrap of particles for water remediation.
The micro-sized spheres resemble tiny flower – like collections of Titanium dioxide petals.
The supply petals provide plenty of surface area for researchers to anchor cyclodextrin- a benign sugar based molecule often used in food and drugs.
It has a two faced structure, with a hydrophobic (water avoiding) cavity and a hydrophilic (water-attracting) outer surface.
BPA is hydrophobic and naturally attracted to the cavity. Once trapped, reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced by the spheres degrades BPA into harmful chemicals.
In the lab, the researchers determined that 200 milligrams of the spheres per litre of contaminated water degraded 90 percent of BPA in an hour, a process that would take more than twice as long with unenhanced titanium dioxide.