Research Grants/Fellowships/SBIR

Evaluation of Chitosan Coagulation as a Sustainable Method for Point of Use Drinking Water Treatment in Developing Countries

EPA Grant Number: SU834295
Title: Evaluation of Chitosan Coagulation as a Sustainable Method for Point of Use Drinking Water Treatment in Developing Countries
Investigators: Sobsey, Mark D. , Casanova, Lisa , Clark, Lily P. , Elliott, Mark , Hiser, Ashley F. , Kaufman, Amanda , Ligon, Grant C.
Current Investigators: Sobsey, Mark D. , Armstrong, Andrew , Casanova, Lisa , Knee, Jackie , Ligon, Grant C. , Soros, Ampai
Institution: University of North Carolina
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: August 15, 2009 through August 17, 2010
Project Amount: $9,990
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2009) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Water , P3 Awards , Sustainability



We will evaluate the effectiveness of chitosan coagulation for drinking water treatment both alone and as an improvement for other POU methods.


The experimental approach will measure the effectiveness of chitosan alone and in combination with a currently available POU ceramic filter to remove bacteria and viruses from water. Laboratory studies will determine if chitosan alone and chitosan+filtration can meet the EPA standards for POU devices of 6 log10 removal of bacteria and 4 log10 removal of viruses.

Expected Results:

The goal of point of use (POU) technology is to allow people who only have access to unsafe water sources to improve the quality of their water by treating it in the home. Available POU technologies, including chemical disinfectants and filters, hold great promise for households in the developing world. However, current technologies have effectiveness gaps. Not all POUs are effective against all three classes of pathogens that cause waterborne diarrheal disease: viruses, bacteria, and parasites. The technical challenge is to improve current POUs so that they are effective against all three classes of pathogens. Chitosan coagulation is a potential solution that has not been previously explored. Chitosan, a nontoxic biopolymer, is a widely available waste product of commercial crustacean harvesting. Chitosan coagulation offers a sustainable, low-cost method for water treatment and provides an alternative use for a common waste product.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 1 publications for this project

Relevant Websites:

Phase 2 Abstract

Progress and Final Reports:
Final Report