The world is becoming more in need of a solution to solve the problem of water pollution.
As seen recently in Flint, Michigan and perhaps all over the country, America is not that different from other countries that are searching for answers to this pressing problem.
Since water is a basic necessity, there is a need for technology to address this issue in a way that is cost effective and also efficient.
Currently, there is a multi-step process with a reliance on chemicals that react to certain properties such as sunlight or heat as a way to treat contaminated water.
At UCLA, a team led by Shaily Mahendra and Leonard Rome has developed a new technique using nanoscience to cleanse contaminated water.
This technique involves inserting enzymes into nanoscale particles that are called vaults.
Vault nanoparticles, which normally contain proteins, are present in the cells of most living creatures, so there should be no harm to the environment from this process.
Rome and his coworkers managed to develop empty vaults that were originally used to deliver treatments in the body to fight diseases such as HIV and cancer.
They have now been repurposed to store various enzymes for cleaning pollutants out of the water.
The vaults help keep the enzymes stable and manage to extend the time that they can be used.
Theoretically, many biodegrading enzymes can be contained with the vault at once so there is the potential for cleaning out multiple contaminants in the same space.
This allows for natural processes of enzymatic cleansing to occur at a much more rapid pace than was possible before.
The team has said that it will possibly be available for consumer use in the next few years.
It could be used in polluted lakes, rivers, and should be easy to assimilate into our current water treatment systems.
If this holds true, then the future will hold more promising solutions that can be built on the backs of this technique.
Currently, 783 million people do not have access to clean and safe water and 1 in 5 deaths in children worldwide is due to a water-related disease.
This natural nanotechnology aims to change that.