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Archive for the ‘water scarcity’ Category

New method for water purification?

Posted by feww on February 21, 2010

Public Release: Uppsala University

Seeds from the Moringa tree can be used for water purification

Pure water is a key requirement for good health and alternative cheap, safe methods are required in many countries. In a paper that has just been published in the leading American Chemical Society journal on interfaces, Langmuir, researchers from Uppsala University in co-operation with The University of Botswana describe how extracts from seeds of the Moringa oleifera tree can be used for water purification.


Moringa oleifera (kalamungay, drumstick tree). Pods and seeds on ground at Dairy Rd Kahului, Maui.  Source: Plants of Hawaii. February 07, 2007. For more images CLICK HERE.

Flocculation of particulate impurities is a common first stage in purification of water. This often uses addition of either aluminium or iron salts. Aluminium, particularly, has undesirable health implications. An alternative procedure that uses a natural extract from seeds of the Moringa oleifera tree is used in Africa.

Research in a paper that has just appeared in the leading American Chemical Society journal on interfaces, Langmuir, describes how very small amounts of the protein from these seeds can bind strongly to surfaces and thus would cause contaminant particles to aggregate. The Scattering Centre at Ångström Laboratory and the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Uppsala University is a centre of expertise in exploiting a powerful technique known as neutron reflection to measure structure and composition of layers of just a few nanometres (millionths of a millimetre) at the interface between a solid and a liquid.

A co-operation with the University of Botswana where there is a long interest in exploiting natural products has led to a research project that provides important insight in to the way that protein molecules from the Moringa oleifera seeds interact, binding stongly both to each other and surfaces so as to cause aggregation in to large lumps that are readily removed from the water.

“It is nice to see how the basic interactions of molecules can play a role in solving practical problems,” says Adrian Rennie, Professor at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Uppsala University. “Understanding of the process may lead to further development in water purification with materials that are locally available and environmentally friendly.”

Contact: Adrian Rennie
adrian.rennie@fysik.uu.se
Uppsala University

Posted in Drought, iron salts, potable water, Uppsala University, water scarcity | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

2008 second worst year for disaster losses

Posted by feww on December 11, 2008

Disaster losses in 2008 are about $160 billion, so far, insurers Munich Re Foundation say

Only 2005 saw a bigger financial toll of $220 billion, with a large contribution from hurricane Katrina.

China’s Sichuan quake which struck in May, was the costliest disaster in 2008 so far. However, it should be noted that outside the U.S. and EU,  natural disaster losses are far less likely to be covered by insurance.

According to a joint study by Munich Re and the U.N. Environment Program, weather-related disasters caused by global warming are rising.

“Since the 1980s… weather-related hazards such as major floods have increased by as much as 350 percent and those from wind storms have doubled,” the report said.

Meanwhile, the Colorado State University hurricane research team said 2009 would be another “above-average” hurricane season like 2008. They forecast 14 tropical storms in the 2009, including seven that would develop into hurricanes, with three being dangerous Category 3 or above on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

FEWW Tropical Storm Forecast will be release early 2009. Stay tuned!

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Posted in 500 Weather-Related Disasters, Food Crisis, Human Impact on Nature, shelter crisis, water scarcity | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »