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Environmental & Resource Science

5 students standing in a river with a professor gathering water samples from nets
School of the Environment

Environmental & Resource Science

Patent Pending for Student Led Research on Cleaner Water

Trent students team up with NobleGen for natural alternative for removing metal from water

Innovative research around natural alternatives for removing toxic metals from water has led a group of Trent students to team up with a groundbreaking biomaterials company to apply for a patent.

The research involves using specialized phytoplankton, euglena gracilis, to remove metals from wastewater and contaminated aquatic sources, explains Vaughn Mangal, a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Environmental and Life Sciences program.

“This work has been an ongoing project since 2015 and has continued to develop in applications until late 2017 when we decided to initiate the patenting process,” Mr. Mangal explains.

There are six applicants on the patent: Mr. Mangal, fellow students Cam Winters and Ainsley Lewis, their supervisor Dr. Celine Guéguen, as well as Adam Noble and Adam Long from NobleGen.

Mr. Mangal’s research focused on what euglena releases into the environment while his colleagues focused more on the capture of metals by using whole or powdered Euglena cells.

“We hope that our research provides marketable strategies for bioremediation that will become incorporated in water filtration and purification technologies,” Mr. Mangal says.

Mangal did his undergraduate and graduate studies at Trent, saying the University has provided unique opportunities to present research at international conferences, publish in peer-reviewed journals and help develop real-life products.

After graduating next spring with a doctorate degree, Mr. Mangal says he plans to continue research in bioremediation and his long-term goal is to be a professor with his own lab to continue exploring bioremediation technologies.

Posted on May 4, 2018