Synthetic Coral Could Remove Toxins from OceansSynthetic Coral Could Remove Toxins from Oceans
Researchers in China have developed a new material that mimics coral that could help remove toxic heavy metals like mercury from the ocean.
July 26, 2016
The destruction of coral reefs around the world is also leading to a disruption of the ocean’s ecosystem and increased pollution in the sea. As a possible solution to this problem, researchers in China have developed a new material that mimics coral that could help remove toxic heavy metals like mercury from the ocean.
Manufacturing and industrial processes release metal ions like mercury, lead, and arsenic into the ocean, where it is then absorbed by plants and animals, poisoning them and the ecosystem. This problem also reaches the human population when people consume toxic fish, causing health issues -- particularly cognitive problems in children, according to the World Health Organization.
Indeed, it was actually the fact that these metals are toxic to corals that inspired the team from Anhui Jianzhu University in China to develop the synthetic coral. The reason mercury and other metals are so damaging to coral is that coral itself is very efficient at adsorbing heavy metals, said Dr. Xianbiao Wang, one of the authors of the study from Anhui Jianzhu University in China.
Researchers in China have developed synthetic coral using aluminum oxide that can adsorb toxic metals like mercury from the ocean to reduce harm to fish and plant life. The graphic shows the a magnified image of the material and its composition.
(Source: Anhui Jianzhu University)
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