1 Tahrcountry Musings: Prickly pear Cactus, the Amazing Water Purifier

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Prickly pear Cactus, the Amazing Water Purifier

A few days back we wrote about water purification using Moringa (Moringa oleifera). On the heels of this piece of information here comes news about water purification using Prickly pear Cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) found worldwide. This is not exactly new information. 19th-century Mexican communities were using Prickly pear Cactus as a water purifier and then it went in to limbo.
It was a team of researchers from University of South Florida that came up with the latest findings. The team extracted the cactus's mucilage and mixed this with water to which they had added high levels of either sediment or the bacterium Bacillus cereus. The mucilage acted as a flocculant, causing the sediment particles to join together and settle to the bottom. This also caused the bacteria to combine and settle. 98 per cent of bacteria were filtered from the water.
Full details appear in the latest issue of journal Environmental Science and Technology
Removal of Sediment and Bacteria from Water Using Green Chemistry
Audrey L. Buttice, Joyce M. Stroot, Daniel V. Lim, Peter G. Stroot§ and Norma A. Alcantar*
Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology, and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33620

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