Plant seeds might be huge step towards solving the global water crisis


  • Drumstick seeds can be used to purify water.
  • Scientists have developed a new material using seeds and sand.
  • This new material known as f-sand could possibly solve the global water crisis.
Researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University, USA have developed a cheap and effective water filtration material to counter the global water crisis. This material which is termed as “f-sand” is made from sand and plant materials.

What is f-sand?

The new material, f-sand, uses proteins from the Moringa Oleifera plant commonly known as the drumstick tree to efficaciously purify water. The plant which is indigenous to India, grows well in tropical and sub-tropical climates and is cultivated for food and natural oils. The seeds of the plant are also used for one type of basic water purification. Materials present in the seeds can kill microorganisms and reduce water turbidity.

F-sand can be created by the extraction of proteins from the plant’s seeds and attaching them to the surface of silica particles of sand.


The only problem faced by this water purification process is the bacteria growth. When water is purified with the seeds of the Moringa Oleifera the process leaves behind high amounts of Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC) resulting in bacteria regrowth after 24 hours on an average. This gives a really short window to consume this water, but the excess DOC can then be washed off, leaving behind clean water for a longer period of time.

As the world progresses into the future, lack of resources is a growing concern. Water resources on the planet are diminishing very fast. Widespread droughts and water contamination have resulted in a global water crisis. Here are some reports with some alarming facts -

  • 844 million people don’t have clean water - WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Report 2017.
  • 31% of schools don’t have clean water - UNICEF, Advancing WASH in Schools Monitoring, 2015.
  • Every minute a newborn dies from infections caused by lack of safe water and an unclean environment - WHO, 2015.
  • Diarrhoea caused by dirty water and poor toilets kills a child under 5 every 2 minutes - WASHWatch.org
  • Around the world, up to 443 million school days are lost every year because of water-related illnesses - Human Development Report, 2006
Currently, 2.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water services globally and the majority of them live in developing nations according to WHO.

If new materials like f-sand work as they promise, they could be a significant step towards solving the water crisis.
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