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Biotech

'Drinkable Book' Pages Clean Dirty Drinking Water 89

An anonymous reader writes: Scientists have developed what they're calling the "Drinkable Book," which contains pages that can be torn out and used to effectively filter drinking water. The book has just completed a series of field trials in a few African countries, and it successfully removed more than 99% of the bacteria in water taken from contaminated sources, bringing it in line with U.S. tap water. The book's pages are imprinted with nanoparticles of silver and copper, which sterilize a wide range of microorganisms. The lead researcher says each page can filter about 100 liters of water before needing to be discarded. The team currently makes all the pages by hand, so their next step will be to find a way to automate production.
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'Drinkable Book' Pages Clean Dirty Drinking Water

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    • My first thought was exactly like that comic. If you only kill 99% of the bacteria in water from a contaminated African source, that still leaves an awful lot of bad stuff in there. In line with U.S. tap water? Ewww, I'm never drinking from an American faucet again.

      • Yeah, who still has a functioning immune system, used to dealing with external bacterial threats..

      • by Falos ( 2905315 )
        The bacteria in your body right now outnumber your cells. By ten to one. Munroe was blasting the boast.

        I'm tired of you phobics. You always sound so entitled. You clearly consider yourselves above others.

        As you read this you are swallowing an endless stream of slimy mucus, and there's nothing you can do about it.

        Fortunately, there's nothing you should do about it, and you'll be comfortable with reality after you prioritize where fucks need to be given.
        • To be clear, I'm fine with bacteria, and I despise hand-sanitizer.
        • It's less about gut microbes and more about waterborne pathogens.

          You may diss the idea as much as you want, but stuff like cholera or dysentery is still a real thing.

  • 6 months in? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Monday August 17, 2015 @09:48AM (#50331079)
    So, since the book contains instructions and reasons for filtering water and the pages get consumed as filters, what happens when you are 6 months in and half the book is gone? Why not just make a big stack of filters and a small pamphlet on how/why to use them?
    • We don't currently have the technology to keep a bunch of loose leaf pages bound together though....

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The instructions are probably "fold it into a small square. then pour water through it." in like 3 languages. (filters aren't complicated)

      I'd imagine they printed the same thing on each page so if you have a page you also have the instructions.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      6 months? Not even that!

      It lasts for 100L. An average individual needs to consume 2L of water each day, especially in those hot countries, so, in less than 2 months it's already trash.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It is 100L per page. The book has several of them.

      • A Brita water filter lasts about 100 gallons, so this is a piece of paper with about a quarter of the lifespan of a traditional water filter. I'm guessing that the 'piece of paper' part of it is to make it cheaper and more easily transported, so as long as you have at four pages in a book, it's probably going to last longer.
    • by dj245 ( 732906 )

      So, since the book contains instructions and reasons for filtering water and the pages get consumed as filters, what happens when you are 6 months in and half the book is gone? Why not just make a big stack of filters and a small pamphlet on how/why to use them?

      It's perfect for any kind of outdoor survival book. If you manage to survive long enough to filter 100L of water, you probably can find time to memorize the information on the next page.

      • you probably can find time to memorize the information on the next page

        Especially if your life depends on it, it focuses the mind wonderfully.

    • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *

      Just print it on every page, like we already do with some stuff that's bulk-packaged. That way pages can be torn out and handed around without needing separate instructions.

      And print a copy on the inside cover, which is far less likely to get lost than is a separate pamphlet. Be sure to use nontoxic ink. :)

    • Why?

      So you look like a goddamned wizard. This is not just any book, this is a book full of water filtering spells!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Didn't we determine that nano silver is toxic to the environment?

  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Monday August 17, 2015 @09:58AM (#50331143) Journal

    You want to get this to all the nations of the world where safe potable water is scarce? Just convince the Christians to print their bibles using this paper and take those versions on their mission trips. It could be the first time in history that the word of [the Christian] God was used to truly save someone.

    • Why not print a copy of the Book of Pasquale on it?

  • ....proves successful.

    Isn't that a more accurate description?

    I would think it would make more sense to invest time and energy into making existing filtration systems that can be mass produced and use simple materials would be more beneficial than one, when used correctly, loses half its value over time (the book part).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why not use the machines that Dean Kamen's company has already designed, and Coca-Cola is distributing and installing? Why go nano-technology and dead-tree paper books?

  • While it's a nice idea that that may save you from carrying a book AND a water filter (in whatever rare circumstances this might matter) this finally allows for text books that are consumed and can't be handed down from one generation to the next.

    Next step: Water quality at US colleges is reduced to levels that require filtering with textbook pages.

  • Silver and mold (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Monday August 17, 2015 @10:07AM (#50331191) Journal

    Silver-impregnated bandage pads work wonders on wounds. I don't know why they aren't more readily available

    • Silver-impregnated bandage pads work wonders on wounds. I don't know why they aren't more readily available

      Because nobody buys them. The only place I've seen them is at Discount Grocery. They had pretty crap adhesive, so even at a deep discount, I only bought them once.

      A lot of good stuff is compromised by half-assery. It doesn't matter how well the silver works if the bandage doesn't stay on. They'll never get a chance to find out.

  • What's a few million microbes between friends?

    • A kiss?
    • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *

      Numbers of pathogens matter. In crude terms, one antibody unit kills one virus or bacterium. Your immune system can cope with a lot, but if the defenses it has to hand get "used up" faster than it can make more, that's when a pathogen will overwhelm you.

      So if the number of pathogens in the water are reduced by 99%, or even by 90%, it's that much more chance your immune system has to stay ahead in this numbers game, and kill off whatever pathogens are still in the water before they can reproduce in your body

  • They banned deoderants containing silver in some places, didn't they ? Because silver is one of the shrinking number of working antibiotics.
  • "bringing it in line with U.S. tap water"

    Meaning it still may stink of rotten eggs, contain deadly arsenic and it also may catch fire at the tap.

  • How is this any different from the LifeStraw [buylifestraw.com]?

    Having the filter in a piece of paper seems less practical and more prone to error i.e. water spilling over the side. You also require multiple containers. A dirty container from which to pour the water, and a clean container for storage.

    Note: I am in no way affiliated with LifeStraw and have never used the product.

    • The drinkable book is its own container. And at a glance the biggest difference would be price, Lifestraw is selling for 20$, they say the book will be worth pennies. Could be lifestraw has a cheaper run for the poor areas but overall the biggest stumbling block for these purifier options (And there are quite a few) is their ability to scale. Its trivial getting a filter option for an individual or family, but when you get to city level or provincial they can't keep up or cost gets prohibitive.
    • by Teebin ( 4130307 )
      Or better yet, a Sawyer Mini [sawyer.com] which is cleanable, does not generate waste, lasts years, and is just as portable. It also attaches to standard water bottles so you don't have to suck water directly from the source. It's easy to set up a gravity-fed rig to get many gallons a day of safe drinking water. (you may want to prefilter with a cheap fuel filter). It costs USD$20 but since it lasts so long, cost per liter is low. The Sawyer is purely mechanical filtering, so there are no antibiotics that can breed su
    • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *

      Folding a flat sheet into a cone is easy; anyone can learn to do it. A cone fits into the mouth of a plastic jug, which is a common way for these folks to carry water home from the common source.

      And I expect it's a helluva lot cheaper than LifeStraw, which I've seen offered at around $13 a pop. We're talking about the daily water for millions of people here, not one guy on a weekend hike.

  • Those thin bible pages made good rolling paper in a pinch.

    And I've worked for a few PHBs that probably ate their school books.

    • by q4Fry ( 1322209 )

      Those thin bible pages made good rolling paper in a pinch.

      Your remark put me in mind of a classmate's selection for the dramatic poetry reading when I was in Junior High: (WTF, Slashdot? There's a minimum for the average characters per line? How do people write Burma Shaves?)

      The Ballad Of Salvation Bill
      'Twas in the bleary middle of the hard-boiled Arctic night,
      I was lonesome as a loon, so if you can,
      Imagine my emotions of amazement and delight
      When I bumped into that Missionary Man.
      He was lying lost and dying in the moon's unholy leer,
      And frozen from his toes to fi

  • Not much of a headline when you remove the funny name that was just invested for marketing:

    New Filters Clean Dirty Drinking Water

  • I assume the book is titled: "On the Creation of Superbugs".
  • Wonder what would such a book cost? [tuitionphysics.com]

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