Published on 30 Jun 2022

Decontaminate Heavy Metal Water Using Plant Waste Protein - Prof Ali Miserez & Vg Prof Raffaele Mezzenga

We are pleased to share that Prof Ali Miserez and Visiting Prof Raffaele Mezzenga’s research on using plant waste protein to filter out heavy metals in contaminated water has been featured in various media.

The research team, led by Prof Miserez and Vg Prof Mezzenga of the Department of Health Science and Technology at ETH Zürich, created a membrane made from a waste by-product of vegetable oil manufacturing that can filter out heavy metals from contaminated water. They discovered that proteins derived from the by-products of peanut and sunflower oil production can attract heavy metal ions very effectively. Through a process of attraction called adsorption, the protein-based membrane is able to purify contaminated water to a degree that meets international drinking standards.

The membrane also has the potential to be a cheap, low-power, sustainable, and scalable method to decontaminate heavy metals from water.

The research work is published in Chemical Engineering Journal, titled “Plant-based amyloids from food waste for removal of heavy metals from contaminated water”

For a full media release, please visit NTU News: Plant waste removes heavy metal from water.

“Current technologies to remove (heavy metals in water) are energy-intensive, requiring power to operate, or are highly selective in what they filter. Our protein-based membranes are created through a green and sustainable process, and require little to no power to run, making them viable for use throughout the world and especially in less developed countries.  Our work puts heavy metal where it belongs – as a music genre and not a pollutant in drinking water.”
-Professor Ali Miserez-
From left to right: Soon Wei Long (Prof Miserez’s PhD student), Prof Ali Miserez, and Vg Prof Raffaele Mezzenga from the Department of Health Science and Technology, ETH Zürich, Switzerland. (Source: NTU Singapore)ChannelNewsAsia (CNA) presenter, Loke Wei Sue (left), spoke with Prof Miserez (right) to learn more about the protein membrane made from the waste of peanut and sunflower oil production. (Source: CNA YouTube) 

Our heartiest congratulations to Prof Miserez and Vg Prof Mezzenga on this excellent achievement!

Media coverage: