Researchers have streamlined and simplified a process that uses extracts from seeds of Moringa oleifa trees to purify water, reducing levels of harmful bacteria by 90% to 99%. The hardy trees that are drought resistant are cultivated widely throughout many countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
The protocol, which is outlined in a Current Protocols in Microbiology review, is low-cost and efficient, making it especially useful for people living in extreme poverty in developing countries who are presently drinking highly turbid and contaminated water. Of these, some 2 million are reckoned to die from waterborne diseases every year, with the majority of deaths occurring in young children.
"The use of these techniques will not be a panacea against waterborne disease; however, increasing the use of the Moringa tree would bring benefits in the shape of nutrition and income, as well as purer water," said author Michael Lea.