Scientists from the University of Minnesota are predicting how certain drugs will break down in wastewater.


University of Minnesota scientists from the Wackett Lab recently announced they’re inventing a better way to predict how pharmaceuticals break down in wastewater.

Using a predictive method, the researchers are determining the probability that a given drug can break down. In the study, the scientists used an epilepsy and ADHD prescription drug called carbamazepine.

The research uses a two-step method. “First, the drug needs get into the active site of the enzyme, and then be positioned correctly,” researcher Diego Escalante told the Minnesota Daily. The method looks at the structure of the enzyme in question using a process called X-ray crystallography and calculates the probability of a specific drug breaking down using that enzyme.

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Naturally occurring wastewater chemicals traditionally have been treated via bioremediation, but there aren’t currently any scientifically proven methods to rid the water system of pharmaceuticals.

Today’s processes aren’t capable of breaking these contaminants down, and the use of these types of chemicals is on the rise.

“The impact will not be immediate, but it is our hope that this information can be used for the design of better wastewater treatment for the removal of chemicals of emerging concern – both here and around the world,” researcher Kelly Aukema told The Minnesota Daily.

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Source: The Minnesota Daily


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