Feeds

New use found for 'world's most useful tree'

Water purification method offered for free download

SANS - Survey on application security programs

A recipe for using "the world's most useful tree" to purify water is being offered for free download, in the hope that this will help get clean drinking water to billions of poor folk around the world.

Moringa tree in Namibia. Credit: Violet Gottrop

The Swiss Army knife of the tree world

The tree in question is the Moringa oleifera ("oily moringa") aka the horseradish or drumstick tree (also "Mother's best friend" in some places). The Moringa is cultivated across the tropical world and furnishes food in the form of apparently highly nutritious* pods, leaves and flowers.

It also yields oil which can be used as lighting or cooking fuel (or to make biogas). You can even make a highly effective crop fertiliser out of the miracle Moringa. Handily, the trusty tree is also drought resistant and tolerant of poor soil.

But that's not all, it turns out. You can also use Moringa products to inexpensively purify dirty drinking water.

“Moringa oleifera is a vegetable tree which is grown in Africa, Central and South America, the Indian subcontinent, and South East Asia. It could be considered to be one of the world’s most useful trees,” says Michael Lea, a Canadian water-purification researcher. “Perhaps most importantly, its seeds can be used to purify drinking water at virtually no cost.”

The method in outline involves crushing the tree's seeds to powder and making a solution with this. When the solution is added to turbid, dirty water it causes the suspended gunge to rapidly stick together into bigger flecks and so sink rapidly. Almost all contamination is thus carried down quite quickly into a sludge at the bottom of the container, allowing nice clear water to be decanted or siphoned off from the top.

The Moringa-seed technique, according to Lea, isn't foolproof - there are various bacteria and viruses which will not be affected by it. But it makes water much safer and more pleasant to drink, and Moringa treatment is hugely better than no treatment at all, which is the norm for far too many people.

“This technique does not represent a total solution to the threat of waterborne disease," concedes Lea. "However, given that the cultivation and use of the Moringa tree can bring benefits in the shape of nutrition and income as well as of far purer water, there is the possibility that thousands of 21st century families could find themselves liberated from what should now be universally seen as 19th century causes of death and disease.

"This is particularly mind-boggling when you think it might all come down to one incredibly useful tree.”

According to Lea, despite the fact that Moringa is widespread in the very regions where bad water is a serious problem, the seed-paste purification method is little known. Thus his paper on just how to do it is being published for free online.

Now all that's needed is for the knowledge of the recipe to spread. We don't suppose we have all that many readers in regions where it would be useful, but perhaps some of you can pass it on. ®

*The leaves of the Moringa are said by some sources to be several times as rich in the relevant desirable vitamins and minerals as orange juice, bananas, carrots and milk.

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
STEALTHY NANOROBOTS dress up as viruses, prepare to sneak into YOUR BODY
Cloaking techniques nicked from viruses tackle roadblocks on way to medical frontier
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.