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© TU Wien | Shaghayegh Naghdi
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  • Research & development

Glyphosate filter for clean groundwater

10. May 2023

Clean drinking water is essential. An international research team at the Vienna University of Technology showed how groundwater can be efficiently freed from pesticides and pollutants such as glyphosate. The team led by Dominik Eder (Institute of Materials Chemistry) has developed a new class of materials i.e., so-called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). These materials can be used to remove the herbicide glyphosate selectively and efficiently from groundwater.

MOFs consist of tiny metal oxide clusters connected by organic molecules to form a highly porous, sponge-like network. A large number of can adsorb within the pores, making MOFs ideal materials for directly capturing CO2, inorganic salts and organic pollutants from the air and water. The special thing about MOFs is that they can be customised depending on the application.

A crucial limitation of MOFs for their use in liquid media is the accessibility of active sites deep inside the material, where the adsorption processes and chemical reactions take place. To solve this problem, the research group developed a strategy to incorporate additional pores with a diameter of up to 10 nanometres, so-called mesopores, into the MOFs. In collaboration with researchers from the University of Northern British Columbia in Canada, Dominik Eder's team finally investigated the adsorption of glyphosate from groundwater. Remarkably, the new material was able to remove three times as much glyphosate in only 20% of the time as the currently best adsorbent.

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