Removal of Model Microbes Using Moringa Oleifera Protein Covered Sand

Open Access
Thomas, Jenna
Area of Honors:
Environmental Engineering
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Stephanie Butler Velegol, Thesis Supervisor
  • Eric Todd Donnell, Honors Advisor
  • Moringa
  • water filter
  • water treatment
Standard water treatment methods include coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, disinfection, membrane filtration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light (UV) (Yongabi et. al 2011). However, not all of these methods are available in the rural and impoverished areas that need clean water the most. Previous work has shown the feasibility of a water filter created from sand coated with cationic proteins from seeds from the Moringa oleifera tree (known as f-sand). F-sand has been shown to remove and even inactivate microbes. In order to scale up and f-sand filter, many parameters must be known. One of those parameters is the fractional coverage of microbes that will coat the surface of the f-sand. Here we developed a method to test the fractional coverage of microbes on the surface of f-sand. The fractional coverage of f-sand ranges from 9.1% to 16.7% in DI and low salt solutions, and coverage remains constant over time. On average, model microbes cover 13% of the surface of f-sand particles. The fractional coverage of f-sand is greater in tap water solutions, with a range of values from 11.9% to 26.4%. Coverage in tap water solutions is variable and unpredictable over time. After creating f-sand and testing its fractional coverage using seeds from Thailand, Nicaragua, and Tanzania, we determined that the fractional coverage is constant with location and time.