Like many indigenous plants and trees, the Moringa tree has numerous benefits. Like did you know, the seeds of the plant can be used to purify water?
Moringa seeds contain a natural cationic protein (MOCP), which has been used as an antimicrobial treatment for water.
But it’s not all that easy. The challenge with using Moringa seeds for purifying water is that they release other water-soluble proteins and organic matter, which increases the concentration of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in the water.
The presence of this DOM supports the re-growth of pathogens in treated water, preventing its storage and later use. Meaning there is only a limited period in between which the water can be consumed.
Now researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have used sand along with the seeds to create a viable water purification system.
The researchers used functionalised sand or f-sand, which is basically charged sand that helps retain the antimicrobial property of the moringa seeds. The dissolved organic matter is rinsed away, inhibiting the growth of bacteria henceforth.
The data indicated that the functionalised sand (f-sand) removes microparticles and pathogens from water, renders E. coli bacteria non-viable, and significantly reduces the turbidity of the water.
The Moringa tree, commonly known as the ‘drumstick tree’ is cultivated for food and natural oils and is native to the Indian peninsula. Every part of the tree is beneficial, from the bark to its roots and now even its seeds.
This technique, the researchers claim, is low-cost with the f-sand being easily reusable.
According to WHO, about 2.1 billion people suffer from lack of safe drinking water. And we can be sure that this number is only expected to rise. However, innovations like these can help curb the danger.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)