A whopping 780 million people around the world can’t take a clean, pure glass of water to their lips to quench their thirst. Purifying water can be expensive and cumbersome in many countries, and without access to clean water or sanitation, disease runs rampant, and many people die unnecessarily from water-borne illness. Fortunately, due to the collaboration of the University of Botswana and researchers from Uppsala University, a natural and inexpensive way to purify water has been uncovered – Moringa oleifera.
Utilizing extracts from the Moringa oleifera tree, scientists were able to remove impurities from water without using aluminum or iron salts (both substances can have damaging effects on the human body, especially aluminum).
“It’s amazing to see that simple interactions between molecules can solve practical problems. Understanding this process can lead to further developments in water purification using naturally occurring and environmentally friendly materials,” says Adrian Rennie, Professor of Neutron Scattering at Uppsala University.
Normally, water is purified with aluminum of iron salts. This is especially so in underdeveloped countries like Africa and Asia. Instead of using these chemical contaminants, water can be purified easily and inexpensively with Moringa. You can watch a video to see the plant seeds in action, here.
A study shows how extremely small amounts of protein from the seeds of the tree bind strongly to surfaces, a property that results in the aggregation of pollutant particles, which can then be separated from the water. This discovery grew out of a collaboration with the University of Botswana and scientists at The Scattering Center and the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Ångström Laboratory.
Following are instructions on how to purify water with Moringa oleifera seed pods:
1. Collect only mature Moringa seed pods and remove the seed from its casing.
2. Discard the shell casings (seed coat) and put aside.
3. Determine the number of seed kernels you will need based on the turbidity and volume of water to be purified. In general, 1 seed kernel will treat a liter of water. Water with high turbidity (dirt and microorganisms) needs more seeds.
4. Crush the seed kernels (using a grinder hammer, mortar and pestle, etc.) This should result in a fine powder that you can sift through mesh or a screen.
5. Mix the seed powder with clean water to form a paste.
6. Mix the paste and about 1 cup of the clean water in a bottle and shake to make a solution.
7. Filter this into water to be cleaned with fine muslin cloth or mesh screen. (This will also help to remove larger unwanted particles from the water).
8. Stir the water rapidly for about 1 minute then slowly for approximately 10 minutes.
9. Let the water sit undisturbed for 1-2 hours minimum. Longer is fine.
10. Carefully pour clean water from the top – the contaminates will have settled to the bottom.
11. This clean water can then be filtered or sterilized for use in cooking or drinking. Please note: (Moringa does not remove all water pathogens, just a large percentage).