MEXICO CITY – Keratin – a protein substance usually used for assorted health purposes – is an innovative alternative for removing metals from water, Mexico’s National Science and Technology Council (CONACYT) said on Thursday.
Researchers as the Keratin Technological Institute (ITQ) working on determining the properties of the substance and its interaction with synthetic polymers discovered that this protein can be used to effectively treat wastewater.
“We’re ... studying its utility for the treatment of wastewater. That is, keratin has functional groups derived from amino acids. They’re the sites where different pollutants affix themselves, such as heavy metals like hexavalent chromium, lead, nickel and song hydrocarbons,” said researcher Ana Laura Martinez.
The ITQ working group is focusing on materials like amorphous carbon for the development of compounds that can be used in procedures to remove coloring agents, heavy metals and organic compounds from water.
The keratin the researchers are working with is extracted from animal waste materials such as chicken feathers and rabbit skins.