Manish Kumar, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Pennsylvania State University, has developed a self-assembling artificial membrane that can be used in fuel separation, water purification, drug supply and DNA recognition.
The membrane with lipids or fat molecules and protein-appended molecules that switch water on pure membranes and self-assembles into two-dimensional buildings with parallel channels works just like nature in the handiwork of water-related treatments.
“Nature does issue very effectively and transport proteins are superb machines current in organic membranes. They have features which might be onerous to duplicate in artificial methods,” said Manish Kumar, adding that the new technology is environment-friendly water purification of membranes.
The artificial water channel improves upon the earlier models of aquaporins or pure water channel proteins making it extra secure and simpler. “We have been stunned to see transport charges approaching the ‘holy grail’ variety of a billion water molecules per channel per second,” Kumar said.
The group says the membrane makes 2D arrays with excess pore density and overtake the primary era synthetic water channels. Published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the findings provide a wide array of uses in the future, they said.
Manish Kumar, an Indian-origin scientist, has a lab in PSU that is making unique combinations of biological molecules and polymers to develop materials that combine the exquisite specificity and functionality of biological molecules with the physical toughness and engineering ability of polymers.
Currently Kumar’s active areas include developing and studying novel membranes and materials for environmental and energy applications. Cell membranes have specific and elegant transport mechanisms for all ions and nutrients needed for survival.
They also play a major role in producing the cell’s energy currency, ATP, by providing a barrier to H+ and helping maintain an electrochemical gradient. Membrane proteins play a major role in providing all these functions.
They are also the cell’s sensors for environmental conditions that range from presence of specific toxins to change in pH. “My work focuses on incorporating membrane proteins into synthetic cell membrane analogs. It is my hope that this strategy could provide us membranes with tailored properties for applications in energy production, energy-efficient desalination, aqueous contaminant removal, contaminant recognition and isolation and rapid response sensors,” says Manish Kumar.