Water research at MSU

Water covers 71 percent of the Earth - 97 percent is salt water and 3 percent is fresh water. Of the fresh water, more than 83 percent is frozen in glaciers and ice caps, leaving less than 17 percent of the Earth's fresh water available as potable drinking water. Water is the basis of life and health for humans, plants and animals - a person can live for more than a month without food, but only one week without water. Water also is a vital component of almost all industry - manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, medicine - every product, whether human- or nature-made requires water for formation

MSU Water Research Priorities

Water quality and quantity

Water treatment

Water policy and

Water research centers and programs

Michigan State University scientists are at the forefront of water research. Our diverse portfolio of research on water and related issues is the cornerstone of the university's research mission. Because water touches so many areas, the researchers studying it come from disciplines ranging from engineering, chemistry, microbiology, fisheries, crop and soil sciences, molecular genetics, geology, medicine, zoology, sociology. These scientists work collaboratively across campus and around the globe to find the best solutions to water challenges and develop new technologies to ensure a safe, secure and plentiful supply of water for all users.

MSU researchers are working on three broad areas of water research: detecting contaminants, remediation, and prevention and management. Use the links at left to learn more about each area.

Selected MSU water technologies available for licensing:

Purification of drinking water using ozonation in a fluidized bed bioreactor: This invention removes pollutants using ozonation and a fluidized bed with microorganisms, with a carbon source to help the microorganisms break down organic pollutants more efficiently.

Ceramic membrane filtration of ozonated water: Combining a better ceramic membrane filter with an ozone degradation step reduces fouling at the membrane surface, kills microorganisms and breaks down the bonds in the organic pollutants, all of which saves money.

Dual affinity membrane hydrocyclone for simultaneous water purification and oil recovery from produced water: The process can be used to treat water produced at offshore platforms during oil and gas production -- or other types of oil-water dispersions -- to cost-effectively separate oil from the water.

Methylene blue dye test strips for rapid qualitative detection of hydroxyl radicals formed in a Fenton's reaction aqueous solution Monitoring advanced oxidation processes for soil and water remediation is often challenging because of the difficulty of measuring the reactive OH radicals. This test allows scientists and practitioners to rapidly and inexpensively monitor the formation of OH radicals.

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MSU's Water Research Initiative

To collaborate with MSU faculty experts or license MSU water technologies, contact:


MSU Technologies

Water Quality and Protection brochure download (PDF)

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