By some estimates, 18 million people die each year from sepsis triggered by endotoxins – fragments of the outer membranes of bacteria. A biochemical engineer at Missouri S&T has patented a method of removing these harmful elements from water and also from pharmaceutical formulations. Her goal: improve drug safety and increase access to clean drinking water in the developing world.
The technique, as outlined in a July 2016 article in the journal Nanotechnology, involves a one-step phase separation method, using a syringe pump, to synthesize the nanoparticles. Those polymer nanoparticles have a high endotoxin removal efficiency of nearly 1 million endotoxin units per milliliter of water, using only a few micrograms of the material.