USA — Microvi, a transformative biology company based in the San Francisco Bay Area, has been awarded over US$1.1 million in funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to scale up its newly developed technology to eliminate chromium, a cancer-causing chemical in drinking water.
Chromium in drinking water threatens the health of millions of people due to its link to cancers and reproductive effects.
It is predicted that excess chromium in the body can damage the kidneys and increase the risk of lung and stomach cancer.
Chromium toxicity limits are 28–80 mg/L for fish and 0.05 mg/L for drinking water. The level of chromium that people can get from daily food is 0.05–0.2 mg/day.
According to the Environmental Working Group, chromium pollution is a widespread problem that affects Americans in all 50 states.
The current Federal standard for total chromium in drinking water (100 parts per billion (ppb)) is being reviewed to address this challenge.
Some areas, such as California, which is particularly vulnerable to naturally occurring chromium, have proposed limits as low as 10 ppb.
Microvi developed a novel approach for chromium elimination based on its MicroNiche Engineering (MNE) platform technology.
This new technology has been demonstrated to successfully reduce hexavalent chromium in water to very low levels (less than 5 ppb), meeting both current and potential future regulatory limits.
A cost-benefit analysis of this new technology revealed significant savings in capital, operations, and maintenance costs when compared to conventional approaches.
“We are excited to finalize this new technology for such a significant problem that affects the health of millions of people around the globe,” said Dr. Fatemeh Shirazi, CEO of Microvi.
“Our commitment to our customers in the drinking water industry has always been to offer the most reliable, advanced, safe, and cost-effective treatment technologies,” he added.
Microvi’s MNE technology has been successfully applied in a number of applications across the water and wastewater sectors.
Recently, Microvi achieved a major commercial milestone for its drinking water installation at Sunny Slope Water Company.
Additionally, along with 2021 commissioning of its first commercial side-stream treatment system in the Pacific US, the advantages of the Microvi MNE Technology are currently being demonstrated for total nitrogen removal at Linda County Water District Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Microvi’s technologies have been deployed in the US, Australia, and the UK for municipal wastewater, drinking water, and industrial applications.