Microrobots made from pollen help remove toxic mercury from wastewater

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dandelion

Dandelion pollen can help clean up pollution

Brian Jackson / Alamy

Tiny robots made using pollen could one day be used to clean contaminated water.

Waste water from some factories contains mercury, a metal that can cause illness if consumed. There are techniques to remove mercury in water treatment plants, but they are time consuming and expensive.

Martin Pumera at the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague, in the Czech Republic, and his colleagues are working on a low-cost alternative. Some pollen grains have a natural tendency to adsorb mercury, so Pumera and his team are experimenting to find ways …

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