Scientists from the University of Edinburgh working with drinks company Diageo have found a way to remove copper from whisky production waste.
Particles of copper from the distillation tanks that are found in the whisky by-products are hazardous to organisms.
By using bacteria to bind to the particles, the scientists have been able to remove the copper and turn it into a saleable commodity.
With copper stills used to give whisky its unique flavour, a large distillery can produce up to 1kg of copper nano-particles from just a day’s worth of waste products.
University of Edinburgh scientist Nikolaos Pantidos told Engineering and Technology Magazine: “The whisky co-products need to be disposed of safely because they contain high levels of copper that is toxic to living organisms.
“There are ways to remove this copper, but the industry is always looking for alternatives and greener ways of bio-remediation.”