Moringa, popularly known as drumstick, which has been added as a flavour to sambar for years, may soon be introduced as a water purifier adding another important use to this miraculous plant. The discovery can prove to be a huge turning point in our fight against many water-borne diseases and meeting the requirement of potable water for people around the globe.
A doctorate student, Amanpreet Kaur Virk has been studying the water purifying properties of moringa seeds for around 2 years now. She proudly filed her first patent on ‘compact and portable herbal water purifier for drinking water’ in October last year describing the use of drumstick seed powder as a natural water purifier.
The idea evolved as an attempt to solve the problems of clean and safe drinking water and help curb many of the water-borne diseases. Amanpreet credited this idea to her guide, Prof Saurabh Kulshrestha who initially suggested the use of Moringa seeds as a water purifier as a topic for her research.
This patent is critical because of the increasing scarcity of freshwater with water pollution levels rising at alarming rates. Today, about one billion people lack safe drinking water and more than six million people (of which 2 million are children) die of diarrhoea every year. Waterborne diseases still kill on average 25,000 people in developing countries every day while millions suffer the debilitating effects of these diseases.
Virk said most of the currently available technologies are not affordable for many people living in the rural areas and the chemical substances used in the process have many adverse effects on the health too. She further added that around 75% of water gets wasted, (which cannot even be used for irrigational purposes) in the RO systems which have become quite popular in recent years.
The herb, Moringa oleifera is commonly referred to as drumstick and also referred to as a miracle tree. Every part of the plant has some medicinal properties as well as high nutritional value. Moreover, being an edible substance, it also has no adverse effects on the health of people unlike many other chemicals presently used in the process of water purification.
Sharing the progress, Amanpreet informed us that the patent is in its testing phase right now. Dip-bag containing extremely safe and edible M. oleifera seeds was used to purify portable drinking water. She said the dip-bag has been successful in the removal of many pathogenic bacteria within a short span of 10-15 minutes. She said just an amount of 50 mg is enough for cleaning 500 mL of water. The seed powder has proved to be bactericidal in nature meaning to permanently kill the harmful bacteria present in the water. She shares the dip bag has also proved to be efficient in the removal of heavy metal contamination and toxic dyes.
Talking about the plans for the commercialization of the idea, she says they have planned to create dip-bags just like tea bags for its wider use. But making people aware of this technology and convincing them about the same shall be the major challenge during the final phase of commercialisation, said the Shoolinian.
Amanpreet Kaur, who has been staying in Himachal Pradesh for the last five years, hails to the Ferozeshah village of the Ferozepur district of Punjab. She completed her schooling and graduated from Shahid Ganj Public School, Mudki and D.A.V. College, Amritsar respectively. She also topped her batch when she completed her MSc from Shoolini University.
Virk falls short of words while talking about her guide, Prof Saurabh Kulshrestha who was also her mentor for the project during her master’s degree. She also thanked Chandresh Kumari, a fellow PhD student who is also an Assistant Professor in the University for her contributions during the initial years of the research work.
She said that the entire faculty of Biotechnology is very sincere and always make all the possible efforts to provide students with the best of facilities and opportunities. She is appreciative of her experience at the Shoolini University with all the good and bad that came her way.