Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Experiments Reveal New "Pen" Can Disinfect Water

Date:
May 25, 2000
Source:
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill
Summary:
During disasters, civilian or military conflicts and wilderness recreation, disinfecting drinking, cooking and washing-up water can make the difference between getting sick and staying well, but chemical disinfectants such as chlorine and fuels to boil water often are unavailable in the field.

During disasters, civilian or military conflicts and wilderness recreation, disinfecting drinking, cooking and washing-up water can make the difference between getting sick and staying well, but chemical disinfectants such as chlorine and fuels to boil water often are unavailable in the field.

To help solve that problem, researchers have developed a battery-powered disinfecting "pen." The device electrochemically generates mixed oxidants from a salt solution that individuals can use to purify drinking water.

Tests of the invention recently took place at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Environmental Health Microbiology Laboratories. Dr. Mark D. Sobsey, professor of environmental sciences and engineering at the UNC-CH School of Public Health, led the effort with doctoral students Maren E. Anderson and Julie A. Kase.

Los Alamos Technical Associates and MIOX Corp. of Albuquerque developed the pen, and the latter funded the UNC-CH research. Results of the independent analysis are being presented at a news conference at the 100th annual general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Los Angeles Wednesday (May 24).

Investigators evaluated the new battery-powered tool to see how well it inactivated waterborne parasites, viruses and bacteria. Several alternative pen cell designs also were tested by seeding oxidant solutions generated from the pen with test microbes, including highly chlorine-resistant Cryptosporidium parvum, a major source of contamination in water.

"There was dramatic -- more than 99.99 percent -- reduction of all test bacteria and viruses within one to 10 minutes," Sobsey said. "Considerable inactivation of C. parvum was also achieved within 90 minutes, the amount depending on the design of the pen cell."

Experiments demonstrated that the miniature pen cell electrochemically generated a mixture of oxidants from a salt solution that was able to inactivate C. parvum eggs, as well as bacterial spores, bacteria and viruses to produce safer drinking water in minutes, he said.

"The pen cell makes it possible for people to easily and quickly have safe supplies of personal drinking water in remote and isolated areas and during situations where water supplies are at risk of being contaminated," Sobsey said. "There is a very big need for this, and it almost certainly will save lives."

Users put a small amount of water into the pen, and then salt pellets dissolve in the water, which comes in contact with battery-powered electrodes, he explained. Within 30 or so seconds of flicking a switch, a chemical reaction known as electrolysis generates chlorine and other oxidants from the saltwater.

"The solution contents are then added to a quart bottle of water or a canteen," Sobsey said. "This delivers enough oxidants to disinfect the water in 10 minutes even better than plain chlorine does, and then the water can be drunk safely."

To protect soldiers, the Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA) paid for developing the MIOX Disinfection Pen, which is seven inches long and weighs four ounces. A lighter, less expensive version is being designed for the outdoor recreation market.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "Experiments Reveal New "Pen" Can Disinfect Water." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000525072643.htm>.
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. (2000, May 25). Experiments Reveal New "Pen" Can Disinfect Water. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000525072643.htm
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "Experiments Reveal New "Pen" Can Disinfect Water." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000525072643.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins