Seeds that clean water
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CTA. 1991. Seeds that clean water. Spore 34. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45568
Engineers from the Department of Microbiology at the University of Leicester are testing a prototype water decontamination system using seeds from the tree Moringa oleifera. This tree popularly called the horseradish tree, is widespread in Africa,...
Engineers from the Department of Microbiology at the University of Leicester are testing a prototype water decontamination system using seeds from the tree Moringa oleifera. This tree popularly called the horseradish tree, is widespread in Africa, India and Indonesia. The seeds contain proteins which make the particles in cloudy and contaminated water coagulate. The coagulated particles then settle, taking with them many of the bacteria and viruses that cause water-borne diseases. This method of purification saves the use of the more usual, but much more expensive, aluminium sulphate, thus saving scarce foreign exchange. Currently a trial project, funded by the UK's Overseas Development Administration (ODA), to test the prototype plant is being conducted in Malawi. Prior to this, the British team also worked with the Forestry Research Institute of Malawi to establish plantations of 4500 horseradish trees at three differing geographical locations. Further research is being undertaken to discover more about the biological activity of the protein coagulant, which accounts for around 30-40% of the weight of each seed. It is thought that the protein acts as a 'polyelectrolyte', cross-linking charged particles. Bill Grant Department of Microbiology University of Leicester University Road Leicester LE1 7RH, UK