Israeli team eyes jellyfish for super-absorbent material

Apr 11, 2014 by Nancy Owano weblog
Drifters-in-the-sea: salps bloom off the coast of New Zealand. Credit: Seacology

(Phys.org) —If diapers choke landfills and sea creatures plague tourism and invade power stations, an Israeli startup seeks to promote a single answer to both problems, according to The Times of Israel report filed earlier this month. The company is developing technology that makes use of jellyfish to construct super-absorbing material that can be used for diapers and applications such as medical sponges.

Hydromash is the name given to the flexible, strong material being developed by the startup, Cine'al. Ofer Du-Nour is chairman and president of Cine'al ; the product is based on research by Tel Aviv University's Dr. Shachar Richter.

The material, said The Times of Israel, is highly absorbent: "Highly absorbent products are made of synthetic materials such as super-absorbing polymers (SAP). The challenge was to find a that was at least as absorbent."

The Israeli researchers turned to , with bodies that can absorb and hold high volumes of liquids without disintegrating or dissolving. They have a processing technique that results in a material called Hydromash, capable of absorbing high volumes of water and blood in seconds. The Tel Aviv University researchers added nanoparticles for antibacterial properties. This can compete with conventional products for absorbency, and biodegrades in less than 30 days. The report said it could also compete with SAPs on price. (SAPs stand for super-absorbent polymers, which are materials with the ability to absorb and retain large volumes of water and aqueous solutions. They are made from lightly cross-linked polyacrylic acid; they are key ingredients in disposable diapers, feminine hygiene and adult incontinence products.)

As important, jellyfish could serve, not threaten, the economy, becoming commodities rather than headaches. Jellyfish inhabit every major ocean. Infestations trouble the tourist industry and scientists alike, with swarms finding beach environments hospitable, driving swimmers away, but also gathering near intake pipes and clogging them up.

An article in Der Spiegel last year noted an international research project funded by the EU was out to gather data on the spread of jellyfish in the Mediterranean region, as well as develop a coastal management strategy. Jellyfish, causing power outages and equipment damage when entering water systems of power plants and desalination plants, had become a topic at world conferences.

With the financial costs of keeping jellyfish out of tourist and harbor areas and environmental problems of diapers in landfills, the Cine'al team could attract interest before long. According to Green Prophet, Capital Nano, a nano tech investor in Israel, is raising funds to scale up Cine'al.

The Green Prophet report said Cine'al is in discussions with partners in Korea and South Carolina, regarding establishing manufacturing plants near jellyfish collection sites.

Explore further: Power-generating urinal pioneered in Britain

More information: www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-… h-into-paper-towels/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

UN warns of jellyfish 'vicious circle' in Med

May 30, 2013

The United Nations on Thursday warned overfishing in the Mediterranean was boosting jellyfish, which reduce stocks further and it called for jellyfish to be used in food, medicine and cosmetics.

Mystery giant jellyfish washes up in Australia

Feb 06, 2014

Scientists were on Thursday working to classify a new species of giant jellyfish that washed up on an Australian beach, describing it as a "whopper" that took their breath away.

Jellyfish replacing fish in over-exploited areas

Sep 16, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Over-fished commercial stocks of plankton-eating fish have been replaced in several locations by jellyfish species. This appears to be something of a paradox because fish move quickly and ...

Distinctive body type aids long life and predation

Feb 10, 2014

Jellyfish (Cnidarian medusa) have unique body plans that violate a universal law of biology and facilitate their longevity and their propensity to form blooms, according to an international study involving ...

Recommended for you

Researchers explore longer life cycle for batteries

12 hours ago

Lithium-ion batteries are common in consumer electronics. They are one of the most popular types of rechargeable batteries for portable electronics, with a high energy density, no memory effect and only a ...

Power-generating urinal pioneered in Britain

Mar 05, 2015

British scientists on Thursday unveiled a toilet that unlocks energy stored within urine to generate electricity, which they hope could be used to light remote places such as refugee camps.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Scottingham
4 / 5 (1) Apr 11, 2014
I can imagine the enormous intakes of desal plants now sucking it all up with gusto with a cheery 'Thank you!'
alfie_null
4 / 5 (1) Apr 12, 2014
Probably a simple answer, since it obviously must happen as the jellyfish are processed, but how are the stinging cells disabled?
Howard_Vickridge
not rated yet Apr 13, 2014
Doesn't this beg the question of how long until we figure the jellyfish population has some important function, and we've triggered a different chain of problems? Just askin, as they say.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.