Aug 17, 2019 | Updated: 07:24 AM EDT

Rotibot: A Solution to Water Pollution

Apr 09, 2019 07:55 AM EDT

Water Pollution
(Photo : Pixabay)

University of California researchers has found a way to remove water pollution and contaminants through efficient and fast methods. 

Current water pollution clean-up methods involve acceleration of the decontamination process with small mobile robots. This method has limitation that involves a small domain of operation, chemical fuels, and short time spans. 

Integrating a biological component is another method in cleaning up water pollution. Self-propelling microorganisms are utilized to form biohybrid microrobots. This has limitations as microorganisms are sensitive to habitats. 

Lead author Joseph Wang and his co-researchers created a biohybrid microrobot called the 'Rotibot' through a marine rotifer Brachionus. This self-propelling micro decontaminant could be implemented in real aqueous environmental conditions. 

This rotibot is every efficient in obtaining energy from puddles, ocean, lakes, and rivers. The rotifer's mouth is surrounded by negatively-charged cilia bands for movement and allows feeding by controlling fluid flow.

The team demonstrated the accumulation of injected positively-charged microbeads under the lip of the rotifer. Clean-up processes are enabled by the functionalization of these microbeads. 

"functionalization with different enzymes proved extremely useful for biodegradation of Escherichia coli and the nerve agent methyl paraoxon. Alternatively, ligand modified beads were able to remove heavy metals like cadmium and lead from solution," according to Advanced Science News

This new affordable method is highly viable as the Rotibot can work without harmful fuels and at relatively high speeds.

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