Yissum - Research Development Company of the Hebrew University

Clay-Polymer Sorbents for the Removal of Organic Micro-Pollutants from Water

Posted by Yissum - Research Development Company of the Hebrew UniversityResponsive · Innovative Products and Technologies · Israel

Summary of the technology

"Complex" Pyridine [not simple PDADMAC.]

Yael Mishael – Clay Polymer Sorbents for the Removal of Organic Micro-Pollutants (TTM:2876)– Prof. Mishael developed a patented clay based ‘pyridine’ composite to remove organic pollutants with a higher efficiency then activated carbon. The composite is cheap to produce yet highly effective in removing drugs, herbicides and pesticides.

Patent Position: https://www.lens.org/lens/patent/WO_2016_151592_A1
Yissum Online: http://www.yissum.co.il/technologies/project/2876

Below thoughts were edited and approved by Yael Mishael:
The complex pyridine based polymer is ‘designed’ for catching micro pollutants @ ng/Liter concentrations (single molecule - pharmaceuticals, herbicide, pesticide), but there are no regulations in place for treatment of micropollutants from waste water.  So there is no incentive for companies/municipalities to add expensive capex to treat this wastewater (capex for pumps, filtration columns etc – irrespective of adsorption resin). There is not really a need for filtering freshwater (tap water) through a complex resin since freshwater is not tested for micro pollutants and is not likely to have this and again there is no regulation for this.
On the other hand the simple ‘PDADMAC’ polymer can be used for filtering any dissolvable organic matter (humeric/muddy), and can be used for clearing up opaque fresh water prior to drinking or treated wastwater. So the results are clearly visible and can be used in municipalities and private home filtration systems, and it was found to be more efficient and more cost effective in purifying organic matter than granulated activated carbon.

Project ID : 8-2012-2876

Yissum - Research Development Company of the Hebrew University

Description of the technology


Granulated active carbon is the most common sorbent used for water filtration. However, it is not a pollutant-specific sorbent, which can result in poor removal of some pollutants, especially in the presence of naturally-occurring organic matter. Furthermore, with the rising concern of pharmacologically-active compounds in water sources, there is an urgency to improve the removal of these emerging micropollutants.

Our Innovation

This project discloses a novel clay-polymer sorbent that successfully demonstrated the superior removal of various groups of micropollutants, including herbicides, pharmaceuticals, industrial compounds and polyaromatic hydrocarbons, even in the presence of naturally-occurring organic matter.

The expertise of the research group relates to modifying clay surfaces to optimize the affinity for micropollutants. It is expected that this approach will result in the rapid uptake of micropollutants at rates much greater than activated carbon. Under certain conditions, the clay-polymer column can be regenerated at a cost much less than transporting and incinerating spent active carbon. It addition, the form factor is not limited to columnar


  • Broad Applicability: Relevant for various categories of micropollutants
  • Low-cost: The clay-polymer composite is low-cost and widely available
  • Non-fouling: Not susceptible to fouling by natural-occurring organic matter


Relevant for removing water pollutants from in- and outflows

Fig 1. Representative filtration-regeneration-filtration activity by polymer-clay sorbent for an organo-phostphate pesticide

Project manager

Ilya Pittel

Project researchers

Yael Mishael
HUJI, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences
Soil and Water Sciences

Related keywords

  • Industrial manufacturing, Material and Transport Technologies
  • Plastics, Polymers
  • Industrial Technologies
  • Agriculture and Marine Resources
  • Pesticides
  • Environment
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Engineering / Technology
  • Measurement and Detection of Pollution
  • Climate Change mitigation
  • Soil and Groundwater Pollution
  • Clean Production / Green Technologies
  • Remediation of Contaminated Sites
  • Waste Management
  • Water Management
  • Drinking Water
  • Industrial Water Treatment
  • Municipal Water Treatment
  • Rain Water
  • Water Resources Management
  • Industrial Products
  • Polymer (plastics) materials
  • Pollution and Recycling Related
  • Water treatment equipment and waste disposal systems
  • Water, sewerage, chemical and solid waste treatment plants
  • Cleantech & Environment
  • Water technologies

About Yissum - Research Development Company of the Hebrew University

Technology Transfer Office from Israel

Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Ltd. Founded in 1964 to protect and commercialize the Hebrew University’s intellectual property. Ranked among the top technology transfer companies, Yissum has registered over 8,900 patents covering 2,500 inventions; has licensed out 800 technologies and has spun-off 90 companies. Products that are based on Hebrew University technologies and were commercialized by Yissum generate today over $2 Billion in annual sales.

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