vrijdag 23 januari 2009

Moringa oleifera: a non-chemical alternative water purification

Arunachalam, Kumar,
Professor of Anatomy
Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore 575001, India,
Jairaj Kumar C

Re: Moringa oleifera: a non-chemical alternative water purification

Pure potable drinking water is premium even in metropolitan areas in developing and underdeveloped countries. While source and storage chlorination is extensively used by city corporations and municipalities in India, in interior and rural situations, most if not all water for personal use is drawn from wells or village tanks and ponds. No attempt is ever made to by authorities at village levels to address the serious and perennial problem to health and hygiene from the consumption and use of contaminated water.

In some of the more enterprising ‘panchayats’ (locally elected five- man administrative bodies), we have seen the use of the common drumstick produce, apart from its water purification properties.

The drumstick tree, Moringa oleifera, is found all over India, its product, the drumstick, being used extensively as a constantly available source addition to add flavour, tang and spice to native recipes.

Branches of the tree are lopped and thrown into turbid and contaminated wells – where over a period of time, the once dirty water, turns clear. Desiccated drumstick seeds are known to science to clear water (about a gram to liter). We report the use of the tree product in many parts of India with hope that the simple and trusted flocculating (and probably harmless) method of water purification is adapted more widely.

As an offshoot, in our own laboratory, we are presently experimenting on the effect of drumstick seed powder as a ‘flocculant-catalyst’ to hasten the time taken for measuring Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate in diagnostic procedures.

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