Research Highlight

Antibiotic filter paper for purifying drinking water

doi:10.1038/nindia.2018.130 Published online 11 October 2018

Researchers have invented filter paper that can inhibit the growth of specific bacteria that usually contaminate drinking water. These nanoparticle-coated cellulose-foam-based filter papers could be used to purify potable water.  

Water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea affect millions in India and other developing countries where victims cannot afford existing water-purifying techniques, which are usually expensive and inefficient.

In search of a cheap and efficient water-purifying method, an international team including scientists from the Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology in Haryana, India, prepared the filter paper from softwood pulp. They then separately coated the paper with silver oxide, zinc oxide and copper oxide nanoparticles.

Next, they explored the antibacterial activities of the filter paper by exposing them to different solutions containing four strains of bacteria (Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus cereus).

The nanoparticle-coated filter paper showed higher antibacterial activities than uncoated ones. Silver oxide nanoparticles were better at increasing the antibacterial activities of the filter paper than the zinc oxide and copper oxide nanoparticles.

The coat of nanoparticles will also protect the filter paper from degradation due to changes in environmental conditions. The filter paper could potentially be used to develop low-cost water-purifying devices.


1. Jain, S. et al. Enhanced antibacterial profile of nanoparticle impregnated cellulose foam filter paper for drinking water filtration. Carbohydr. Polymer. 202, 219-226 (2018)