Aug 29 issue of C&EN has article reporting on the development of biodenitrification to remove nitrate and perchlorate from water.The system uses biofilms deposited on plastic beads in fixed beds or fluidized beds (look it up, but up-flow suspends and mixes the beads) to treat water.This is potentially a major advance because nitrate and perchlorate contamination of drinking water are a concern especially in certain areas. Fertilizer runoff is the usual source of nitrate. Perchlorate is more problematic, but is used in rocket propellants and fireworks. A map in the article shows areas with nitrate contamination problems. Nebraska, western Kansas, the Texas panhandle, central California stand out.Previous treatments have been ion exchange or reverse osmosis, which produce waste streams and/or require energy. This is a more efficient process that uses bacteria to degrade the nitrate to nitrogen and oxygen and perchlorate to chloride and oxygen. The water is then treated by the usual water treatment processes.No details on who is behind this. I would expect Dow/Rohm&Haas to be behind the organic beads. Article mentions Carollo Engineers, Envirogen Technologies, and JoAnn Silverstein of Univ of Colorado, environmental engineering dept.
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