Iron-TAML/peroxide Cyanotoxin Degradation

EPA Grant Number: SU839461
Title: Iron-TAML/peroxide Cyanotoxin Degradation
Investigators: Ryabov, Alexander D. , Collins, Terrence J.
Institution: Carnegie Mellon University
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2019 through February 29, 2020
Project Amount: $15,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2018) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Safe and Sustainable Water Resources , P3 Awards


Cyanobacteria produce cyanotoxins, commonly neurotoxic microcystins. In recent years, cyanobacterial proliferation has increased 100-fold country-wide, expanding cyanotoxin contamination of recreational and drinking water sources and contributing to a common form of gastroenteritis accompanied by liver and kidney damage. Microcystins will be subjected to fierce NewTAML (Tetra-amido Macrocyclic Ligand)/peroxide oxidizing conditions- NewTAML catalysts are the most potent small molecule, peroxidase enzyme mimics known- in pursuit of a safe, viable decontamination technology for cyanobacterial and cyanotoxin contaminated water.


The effectiveness of NewTAML-peroxide catalysis in destroying microcystins will be evaluated at ambient pHs and temperatures. Degradation products and the mechanisms of action will be characterized using multiple spectroscopic techniques. Zebrafish toxicity studies will be carried out. The optimized NewTAML process will be compared with literature reports of other cyanotoxin-removal approaches.

Expected Results:

Discovering superior NewTAML-peroxide performances for cyanotoxin treatment will open the door to advancing the health of people and the planet through real-world technology to fill an important safety gap. NewTAML processes are so efficient, that natural water bodies might be treatable for cyanotoxins. The work will advance the research skills of three STEM students (2 females), as well as entrepreneurial/licensing knowledge for NewTAMLs, while producing experts in cyanobacterial problems.

The development of a cyanotoxin destruction technology that is simple, effective and safe to use would provide an important tool for controlling cyanobacterial injuries to human health and the environment.

Supplemental Keywords:

Toxics, pathogens, bacteria, aquatic, green chemistry, sustainable development, clean technologies, innovative technology, remediation, disinfection, oxidation, environmental chemistry, analytical, catalysis, NewTAML catalysts, cyanobacteria, cyanotoxins, microcystins, water purification, zebrafish.