- Title: Algae filter makes dirty water drinkable
- Date: 9th October 2019
- Summary: DHAKA, BANGLADESH (SEPTEMBER 25, 2019) (REUTERS) WIDE OF DIFFERENT PITS WHERE ALGAE IS CULTURED VARIOUS ALGAE IN PITS SCIENTISTS COLLECTING ALGAE FROM PITS SCIENTISTS MOVING WITH ALGAE TOWARDS THE DEPARTMENT OF BOTANY SIGN FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF BOTANY SCIENTISTS GATHERED IN THE LAB VARIOUS OF SCIENTISTS WASHING THE ALGAE IN THE LAB DRIED ALGAE SCIENTIST LOOKING THROUGH A MICROSCOPE MICROSCOPE AND LENSES SCIENTIST LOOKING THROUGH A MICROSCOPE VARIOUS ENLARGED VIEWS OF DIFFERENT ALGAE IN A BIG SCREEN (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. MOHAMMAH ALMUJADDADE ALFASANE, A PROFESSOR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BOTANY, SAYING: "This pithophora was collected from different habitats of Bangladesh and cultured in the botanical garden, Department of Botany, University of Dhaka then we processed it and send it to Sweden. They made a filter from pithophora and send it to us. This nanofilter is capable of removal of all types of bacteria and viruses which are pathogenic from contaminated waters."
- Embargoed: 23rd October 2019 12:10
- Keywords: alage water filter Bangladesh Uppsala University Dhaka algae University of Dhaka clean water water.org drinking water
- Location: DHAKA, BANGLADESH/ COX'S BAZAR, BANGLADESH
- City: DHAKA, BANGLADESH/ COX'S BAZAR, BANGLADESH
- Country: Bangladesh
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA001B0DM15N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Scientists in Bangladesh have developed a method to make clean drinking water using algae. Researchers at the University of Dhaka have found that locally grown green algae can be used to create paper filters with pores small enough to trap bacteria and pathogens from dirty water to make it drinkable.
Bangladesh has one of the highest population densities in the world with 160 million people living within 57,000 square miles. According to the charity water.org, four million people in the country lack safe drinking water and 85 million lack improved sanitation.
The research was done in partnership with Sweden's Uppsala University where the cellulose nanofibres from the species of green algae Pithophora was turned into filter paper and sent back to Dhaka for testing.
With further development, the team hopes water filters made from Pithophora algae could be an affordable means to prevent numerous potentially deadly water-borne infections.
"This nanofilter is capable of removal of all types of bacteria and viruses which are pathogenic from contaminated waters," Prof. Dr. Mohammed Almujaddade Alfasane from the Department of Botany in Dhaka.
Pithophora algae grows profusely in most freshwater habitats of Bangladesh. The samples used by the scientists was cultured in the concrete pits at the Dhaka University Botanical garden. It was then washed and cleaned properly at the university lab before it was dried in sunlight. Once it was processed, this dried biomass was sent to Sweden.
The algae was then used to extract cellulose fibres which were processed to produce paper sheets. This filter was then sent to Bangladesh for Microbial testing.
The prepared nanofilter was tested in Bangladesh by filtering water samples collected from Bangladesh's Turag River and Dhanmondi Lake. In lab tests, the filter was shown to remove practically 100 percent of waterborne viruses and bacteria from the water. Professor Khondkar Siddique-e-Rabbani said tests "came out very well. It removed all the bacteria and viruses as predicted by the Swedish group."
The project has been successful in the lab, with scientists saying it could be an affordable and efficient solution to prevent potentially deadly waterborne infections.
The filter system currently only works under very particular pressurised conditions.
Siddique-e-Rabbani explained that "this filter is not ready for general application because it still needs a high... atmospheric pressure. So further research has to be done in order to make it in a way so that a gravity-fed filter for the villages is possible."
Eventually the researchers hope to develop devices that could use the algae filter to physically remove pathogens and provide a viable source of clean drinking water for Bangladesh's rapidly growing population.
(Production: Sarah Duffy)
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