Access to clean drinking water is a significant problem in the developing world. According to the charity Water.org, more than 3.5 million people die each year due to a water-related illness and around 884 million cannot easily get to clean water. However, a new development referred to as the "miracle tree" may help lower both figures.
The new technology requires only Moringa seeds and sand, and experts say it could be a cheap and easy way to purify water. The project is an initiative from the American Chemical Society, whose scientists say they were able to extract a microbe-killing protein from the seeds and combine with negatively-charged sand to create a water-purifying substance.
"The resulting 'functionalized,' or 'f-sand,' proved effective in capturing lab-grown E. coli and damaging their membranes," researcher Stephanie B. Velegol said in a podcast on the society's website. "The f-sand was also able to remove sediment from water samples. The results open the possibility that f-sand can provide a simple, locally sustainable process for producing storable drinking water."
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