Filipino chemists develop pollutant-absorbing abaca fabric

Photo from DOST-NCR

FILIPINO chemists from the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) have developed an abaca-based fabric that filters out toxic materials and other pollutants.

The fabric was developed by Dr. Jordan Madrid, head of the PNRI Chemistry Research Section (CRS); Patrick Jay Cabalar, CRS researcher; and Dr. Lucille Abad, career scientist and chief of PNRI’s Atomic Research Division.

In a statement, the DOST said the composite nonwoven fabric was developed using natural fibers like abaca, a native plant readily available, as the country remains its largest producer globally.

“The abaca would be grafted with synthetic polymers that can filter toxic heavy metals dissolved in liquid,” said the DOST.

It added that radiation at PNRI’s Electron Beam Irradiation Facility was used to graft the materials and further process them into their final form as a synthesized filter for heavy metals.

These metals, such as lead, cadmium, nickel, chromium, mercury and arsenic, can damage the environment and pose serious health risks to people.

“PNRI was granted a utility model for the technology in 2019, and radiation grafted materials are expected to prove useful for various industries, particularly those requiring waste water treatment,” the agency said.

The invention by Madrid, Cabalar and Abad was awarded as the Regional Winner for the Outstanding Utility Model Award during the 2019 DOST Regional Invention Contests and Exhibits (Rice) in the National Capital Region held last November 6 to 8, 2019. (EZN/SunStar Philippines)


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