Tropical tree seeds provide sustainable water filtration | January 22, 2018 Issue - Vol. 96 Issue 4 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 96 Issue 4 | p. 9 | Concentrates
Issue Date: January 22, 2018

Tropical tree seeds provide sustainable water filtration

Sand blended with an extract from Moringa tree seeds removes bacteria from drinking water
By Deirdre Lockwood, special to C&EN
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Biological SCENE, Environmental SCENE
Keywords: Water, water purification, filtration, drinking water, sustainability, developing world, Moringa
[+]Enlarge
A water filter prototype (left) made with ground-up Moringa seeds (right) completely removes Escherichia coli from a highly concentrated solution.
Credit: Courtesy of Boya Xiong
Photo of three people wearing gloves holding a filter column filled with sand, Moringa tree seeds, and a petri dish with ground-up seeds.
 
A water filter prototype (left) made with ground-up Moringa seeds (right) completely removes Escherichia coli from a highly concentrated solution.
Credit: Courtesy of Boya Xiong

Researchers have designed a simple drinking water filtration method using sand combined with a protein extract from the seeds of the Moringa oleifera tree, common in equatorial regions. Moringa seeds contain positively charged, water-soluble proteins that have been found to attract particles and kill bacteria. Stephanie Butler Velegol and Manish Kumar of Pennsylvania State University and their colleagues suspended ground-up Moringa seeds in water and then combined the liquid extract with sand. The researchers packed the sand into filter columns about 1 cm in diameter by 5–10 cm high and carried out tests to optimize the columns’ performance. The filters completely removed Escherichia coli from water in which the concentration of the bacteria was more than 100,000 times as great as that in typical wastewater samples (Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2017, DOI: 10.1021/acs.estlett.7b00490). The researchers aim to develop the design into an easy, inexpensive, and sustainable way for households and communities in the developing world to clean water for drinking.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment