Removal of model microbes from water using Moringa oleifera f-sand and challenges to implementation

Open Access
Liguori, Krista Margaretta
Area of Honors:
Elective Area of Honors - Engineering Entrepreneurship
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Khanjan Mehta, Thesis Supervisor
  • Dr. Sven G Bilén, Honors Advisor
  • Stephanie Butler Velegol, Thesis Supervisor
  • Moringa
  • water filter
  • sustainable design
  • failure modes
Water-borne diseases cause 40% of all deaths in the developing world. Though there are many techniques available for purifying water, most are high-tech, high-cost, and imported. We have developed a simple and sustainable technique for cleaning water using sand and the seeds of the Moringa oleifera (Moringa) tree. In this technique we isolate an antimicrobial cationic protein found in the Moringa seeds by adsorbing it onto the surface of a sand particle. We call this sand “f-sand”. F-sand attracts and captures negatively charged particles and microbes such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia, removing them from water. This work discusses the development of a bench-scale f-sand filter to successfully remove high concentrations of model microbes from water. This filter can also be recharged for further water treatment. The f-sand column’s water filtration capacity is predictable using an equation that allows scalability through the update of variables. In order to create a sustainable and affordable solution for the water crisis affecting one billion people, this technology must be contextually appropriate and effectively implemented. Many “water solutions” have been developed in the past with little to no successful impact. This thesis presents an analysis of the design-, implementation-, and maturity-phase challenges with sand filter ventures. In-depth review of the literature and past filtration failures has been conducted to uncover failure modes for these technology ventures, and possible methods for successful implementation. By identifying the potential failure modes and implementation challenges, the product can be designed to effectively integrate into the context of the end-user.