Thursday, 29 April 2010
Researchers from the University of South Florida have found that mucilage from the prickly pear cactus is a natural water purifier. Their researches revealed that the thick gum produced by the cactus could capably filter 98 percent of the bacteria Bacillus cereus from the polluted water. The extract causes the sediment and bacteria to settle at the bottom.
The cactus is native to the Western hemisphere and was used by 19th-century Mexican communities as a water purifier. However it is gradually growing all across the globe, so could potentially be within everyone’s reach.
Norma Alcantar, who led the researches at the University of South Florida in Tampa, states that householders in the developing world could boil a slice of cactus to release the mucilage and add it to water in need of purification. "The cactus's prevalence, affordability and cultural acceptance make it an attractive natural material for water purification technologies."