Pluck the dirt out

A solvent developed at the University of Alabama, usa , can snatch pollutants dissolved in water. The solvent can be tuned to snatch specific elements from water. The choosy solvent is one of a unique group of salts called ionic liquids, made up of electrically charged ions. The solvent may be able to replace toxic and inflammable organic solvents currently used by many industries. Researchers have overcome this by carefully designing the positive ions in their liquid to contain metal-binding groups, which act like tweezers to pluck the metals from water-based solutions (Nature , Vol 409, No 6816)