Writing in the Inderscience publication International Journal of Environment and Waste Management, the team explains how bacteria that grow on particles in a sand filter effectively extract the compounds that produce the taste.
Natural earthy and musty smells in our drinking water are not usually a health risk, but many consumers prefer a fresher taste. This represents an ongoing challenge to the water companies.
"Although adverse odours do not present a risk to human health, their presence often leads to a misconception that the water is unsafe for drinking," explains Gayle Newcombe, Research Leader at the Applied Chemistry Unit of the Australian Water Quality Centre in Salisbury, South Australia.
She and her colleagues have investigated the effect of sand filters in extracting the most common earthy molecules, geosmin and methylisoborneol, from the water supply. These two compounds occur naturally in water and are non-toxic.
Newcombe and her colleagues at the Australian Water Quality Centre and Bridget McDowall in the School of Chemical Engineering at The University of Adelaide have now demonstrated that they can remove geosmin and MIB using biologically active sand filters. In such filters, the particles of sand are allowed to accumulate a biological film of beneficial bacteria that absorb and break down the biodegradable odour molecules.
The team tested sand filter material taken from working water treatment plants. They found that sand taken from a 26-year old filter had a well-established biofilm and was able to remove any detectable traces of geosmin and MIB in less than two weeks. Fresh filter sand with no biofilm, in contrast, was essentially ineffective, removing less than two-thirds of the geosmin and MIB even after several months of operation.
The team is now investigating how to accelerate the development of active biofilms for water purification.
Jim Corlett | alfa
Two decades of training students and experts in tracking infectious disease
27.11.2015 | Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften Hamburg
Increased carbon dioxide enhances plankton growth, opposite of what was expected
27.11.2015 | Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.
Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...
The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...
Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.
In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...
In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.
Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...
Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...
25.11.2015 | Event News
17.11.2015 | Event News
21.10.2015 | Event News
27.11.2015 | Press release
27.11.2015 | Life Sciences
27.11.2015 | Materials Sciences