Chinese Science Bulletin

, Volume 59, Issue 29–30, pp 3926–3934 | Cite as

Rapid point-of-use water purification using nanoscale zero valent iron (nZVI) particles

Article Environmental Science & Technology


Nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI) particles are increasingly being investigated in removing aqueous contaminants. Here, we have demonstrated its inactivation and magnetic removal of bacteria and endotoxins from environmental wastewater samples. Varying dosages (10–1,000 μL) of 0–6 days aged nZVI with a concentration of 5 mg/mL for 2 mL wastewater samples were tested, and relevant removal efficiencies were determined using culturing method for bacteria and limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL) for endotoxins. The supernatants of wastewater samples after reacting with nZVI and subsequent magnetic separations were subjected to spectroscopic, qPCR and DGGE analysis. Overall, high magnetic bacterial removal efficiencies were observed up to 3–4 logs for 1 mL nZVI, while the removal efficiencies decreased sharply down to 0.5 log for 10 μL nZVI. qPCR and DGGE results revealed that higher dosages of nZVI caused severe bacterial cell membrane ruptures, releasing significant amounts of DNA up to 107–108 gene copies/mL when 1 mL nZVI was used. Richer DGGE patterns were observed for higher nZVI dosages. In addition, regardless of the dosages (10–1,000 μL) we have observed more than 90 % removal of endotoxins from the wastewater samples. The described technology has great promise to be used as a point-of-use water purification solution for various purposes.


nZVI particles Wastewater Inactivation Magnetic separation Endotoxins 

Supplementary material

11434_2014_440_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.3 mb)
Fig. S1 Bacterial DNA concentrations detected using qPCR in the supernatants of 2 mL sewage wastewater (DG) samples after the treatments of different aged nZVI particles; B. subtilis DNA was used as a standard. Fig. S2 Bacterial DNA concentrations detected using qPCR in the supernatants of 2 mL nutrient rich samples (FY) after the treatments of different aged nZVI particles; B. subtilis DNA was used as a standard. (DOCX 1336 kb)


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Sciences and EngineeringPeking UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.School of Water Resources and EnvironmentChina University of GeosciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Pathogen and Biosecurity, Beijing Institute of Microbiology and EpidemiologyPeople’s Liberation Army (PLA) Academy of Military Medical SciencesBeijingChina

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