'Miracle' Moringa Seeds Can Purify Water and be Used for Mining Operations


Extracts from seeds of the Moringa oleifera tree can actually be used for water purification. Now, though, researchers have found more uses for these seeds: the separation of different materials. The new findings could be huge for mining industries and could reduce the use of expensive synthetic chemicals. Moringa trees are also known as "miracle trees" due to their many uses as food and as a source of oil. In addition, seeds from the tree can also be used to purify water due to the special properties of the protein in the seeds. Now, researchers have found that this tree possesses even more useful properties. Proteins from crushed seeds of Moringa bind to particles in water and cause them to aggregate. These particles can then be easily removed by filtration or settling. In addition, choosing the right quantity of protein avoids leaving unnecessary protein in the purified water. This doesn't just purify water, though; it could also be used for mining. Moringa seeds could be used for separation of different materials rather than just removal of all impurities. Separation processes are important in mining industries to remove valuable material from waste. "The results can help us to find the optimum amount of Moringa seeds to purify water," said Maja Hellsing, one of the researchers, in a news release. Experiments with detergents added to the bound protein also showed that the behavior changes for different materials. A cationic detergent causes the protein to detach from the surface of alumina. This means that researchers may be able to control the aggregation. "Combining the protein with detergents offers new ways to use this natural material in mineral industries that are important in many countries where Moringa grows well," said Adrian Rennie, the lead author of the study. The findings are published in the Journal of Colloid and Interface Science.



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