Biodesalination - On harnessing the potential of nature's desalination processes

Reza Taheri, Amir Razmjou, Gyorgy Szekely, Jingwei Hou, Gholam Reza Ghezelbash

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Water scarcity is now one of the major global crises, which has affected many aspects of human health, industrial development and ecosystem stability. To overcome this issue, water desalination has been employed. It is a process to remove salt and other minerals from saline water, and it covers a variety of approaches from traditional distillation to the well-established reverse osmosis. Although current water desalination methods can effectively provide fresh water, they are becoming increasingly controversial due to their adverse environmental impacts including high energy intensity and highly concentrated brine waste. For millions of years, microorganisms, the masters of adaptation, have survived on Earth without the excessive use of energy and resources or compromising their ambient environment. This has encouraged scientists to study the possibility of using biological processes for seawater desalination and the field has been exponentially growing ever since. Here, the term biodesalination is offered to cover all of the techniques which have their roots in biology for producing fresh water from saline solution. In addition to reviewing and categorizing biodesalination processes for the first time, this review also reveals unexplored research areas in biodesalination having potential to be used in water treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number041001
JournalBioinspiration and Biomimetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 7 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • biodesalination
  • bioinspired membrane
  • living organisms, biomimetic membrane
  • seawater desalination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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