Environmental Science and Engineering Seminar
Biological transport proteins and enzymes can exhibit high specificity and high rates of transport or catalysis. We are taking advantage of these characteristics to develop hybrid biological-synthetic materials for water treatment. Aquaporin-based membranes show high permeability for water and good rejection properties. Use of bacterial perchlorate-reducing enzymes as cell-free biocatalysts provides effective perchlorate removal in the presence of co-contaminating anions nitrate or sulfate. Current work is investigating a variety of potential applications for the perchlorate-reducing biocatalysts, as well as a life cycle assessment and life cycle costing for the biocatalytic approach to guide future technology development. Together, these projects demonstrate the potential benefits of biomimetic materials.