Characterization and Scale-up of Water Treatment via Adsorbed Moringa Oleifera Protein

Open Access
Smith, Eric Thomas
Area of Honors:
Chemical Engineering
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Darrell Velegol, Honors Advisor
  • Andrew Zydney, Faculty Reader
  • Darrell Velegol, Thesis Supervisor
  • Moringa Oleifera
  • Moringa Oleifera Cationic Protein
  • Water Treatment
Moringa oleifera is a tree that grows across the world in equatorial countries.1 For thousands of years, people have crushed the seeds, dissolving them in water; the solution was then used to treat water. 2 Moringa has been found to contain a natural cationic protein which, when dissolved, exhibits antimicrobial and flocculant properties. 3 The principal problem with treating water in the developing world is that the seed material left behind acts as biological oxygen demand (BOD), which fosters bacteria growth. 4 One solution for creating potable water in these developing countries is to electrostatically attach the cationic protein to negatively charged sand; this functionalized sand (f-sand) could then be utilized to treat water. The abilities and applications of the f-sand were studied according to the objectives below. The total turbidity removal capacity was tested over time for aged f-sand samples using a model solution of kaolin clay suspended in water. Measurements were taken by correlating absorption with kaolin concentration. It was determined that the total average turbidity removal ranged from 81% to 89%, with 65% to 83% of total clearance being achieved after only 20 minutes. Furthermore, different seed batches were tested for turbidity removal capacity and the total turbidity removal percentage ranged between 47% and 90%; and percentage of total clearance after 20 minutes ranged between 63% and 95%. The next objective was to apply the filter to the community scale that could be used to service an entire village or group of families, thus providing income and occupation as well as safe drinking water. Residence time and filter column dimensions were proposed using preliminary design methodology, and two prototypes were constructed and experimentally tested. Attempts were made at designing a quantification method to measure bacteria removal by f-sand.