A group of researchers recently published a study to the journal Nature Nanotechnology, in which they used a protein normally found in milk and the brains of Alzheimer’s patients to filter water.
The researchers formed the Amyloid proteins into fibers and then paired them with a porous carbon structure to make a membrane, the results were interesting. When a severely polluted solution was filtered using the membrane 99% of the contaminants were removed. They managed to trap Lead, Mercury and even various radioactive waste particles.
Another interesting find was that only 6 milligrams of the material managed to filter out 100 milligrams of gold. Standard filters usually cannot hold more than their own weight in heavy metals. It was also particularly effective at removing Lead, managing to clear 99.9% of the contaminant from water.
The sticky substance, according to the researchers, can be scaled up and would cost roughly a dollar per thousand litres filtered. Of course, this was done in lab conditions and the scientists involved have said that the material will need to be tested in the real world before its effectiveness can be determined.