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USDA Heavy Metal Remediation via Modified Bio-oils

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Laboratory: USDA – Agricultural Research Service (ARS)

Technology: Method for heavy metal remediation via modified bio-oils

Opportunity: This USDA technology is available for the private sector to license for commercialization.

Details: ARS developed the process for the removal or extraction of metals (i.e., heavy metals, precious metals, and other metals) from different solid, liquid or gas phase materials. Metal species are removed by contracting the material suspected of containing one or more metals with a fatty acid (or ester) for a period of time and under conditions effective for the sequestration of the metal species. The fatty acid or ester comprising the sequestered metal species is insoluble in water, and may then be separated and recovered from the treated material.

Benefits: There are several advantages to this process, including: 1) remediation can be conducted in an environmentally friendly, biobased manner; 2) the simplicity of the process for localized contaminations such as spills, offers a broader range of markets; and 3) over 90% by weight of the metal species content, preferably 99% or more, can be removed from the material being treated.


  • Removal of toxic metals from contaminated drinking water and other fresh water systems (i.e., lakes, ponds, estuaries, rivers and streams)
  • Removal of toxic metals from waste discharge streams of agricultural, municipal sewage and contaminated soil from agriculture
  • Removal of toxic metals from industrial or mining sites and from flue gases discharged from commercial or industrial sites.


Contact: For more information on this USDA-ARS technology, please contact Renee Wagner at