A so-called “drinkable book” was developed by a scientific team to disinfect contaminated water, with pages able to filter water supplies for approximately four years. The book contains metal nanoparticles which kill bacteria.
“The Drinkable Book” has been denominated so by graduate student Theresa Dankovich, while studying the purifying properties of paper. So it seems she has managed to create a simple method to clear out undrinkable water, a book capable to be moved easily from one place to another, while the pages contain bacteria-killing silver nanoparticles.
The silver nanoparticles were applied to the thick pages of the book, which are able to eliminate variants of microorganisms including bacteria and potential viruses. It has been widely known for centuries that silver (and other similar metals) is capable of extinguishing bacteria.
By continuing her studies at the University of Virginia’s Center for Global Health, she extrapolated the properties of silver nanoparticles, creating ones that were derived from copper, which is far less expensive than silver.
Dankovich started analyzing field-related strategies of water purification in South Africa, Haiti, Kenya and northern Ghana.
She pointed out that she and her team wanted to find out whether the pages worked well on “real water”, instead of just contaminated water from their laboratories.
After previously conducted field work regarding the filtering of lightly polluted water in an irrigation canal, they discovered a sample of highly impure water in a ditch where raw sewage had been discarded. Millions of bacteria had formed over there, offering them a real challenge.
However their findings and resolutions were remarkable, as they achieved 99.9 percent of purity with their silver and copper nanoparticles, meaning that the vast majority of bacteria were destroyed, whereas the low bacteria levels could have been compared to those of US drinkable water.
It seems some silver and copper particles were dissolved in water during the process, however the amount lost was minimum, she explained.
As she formed a nonprofit company, she started to develop their product, the book comprised of pages enhanced with silver nanoparticles. Nanoparticles are microscopic particles, to be more precise – especially a single molecule with dimensions in the nanometer range (less than 100 nanometers).
The sheets of thick paper contain instructions about water safety in English and in the language of the people from the above mentioned countries who could actually make use of this special book.
While the book can filter water supplies for four years, a page can provide 100 liters of potable water.
Now a researcher at US-based Carnegie Mellon University, Dankovich intends to conduct more fieldwork regarding this aspect in rural communities.
Photo Credits technologyexchangelab.org