The Quantification of Moringa Protein and Modeling of the F-sand Column

Open Access
Lauser, Kathleen Theresa
Area of Honors:
Environmental Engineering
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Stephanie Butler Velegol, Thesis Supervisor
  • Eric Todd Donnell, Honors Advisor
  • Moringa
  • Oliefera
  • Water Treatment
Seeds from the Moringa oleifera tree have been used for centuries to purify water. Using the purifying ability of Moringa seeds, we have created a special sand filter called f-sand to address the scarcity of clean water in developing countries. F-sand is created by absorbing an antimicrobial, cationic protein (MOCP) from Moringa oliefera seeds onto sand particles. Because of its positive charge, f-sand can attract and capture negatively charged particles and microbes to purify water. It is our goal for these f-sand filters to be utilized in the developing world. Before that can be accomplished, further study is necessary both on the MOCP levels in these seeds and the effectiveness of the f-sand filters upon scale-up. One major concern with Moringa water purification is determining which seeds most effectively clean water. The effectiveness of the purification may depend on the size, maturity, growing season, color, or location of origin of the seeds. Isolating and quantifying MOCP can serve as a metric to differentiate seeds of varying water clarifying ability. Additionally, a method to purify MOCP is often a precursor to further study of this protein. In this work, young green seeds and mature brown seeds from Chiang Mai, India were found to contain 0.651% ± 0.056% and 1.21% ± 0.18% MOCP respectively. Additionally, brown seeds from Arcahaie, Haiti were composed of 0.456% ± 0.064% MOCP. A second challenge with the f-sand column is the design and scale-up of a column for communities around the world. In highly controlled laboratory conditions, columns can be tested with a certain sand size and known water quality. However, it is crucial to see how these laboratory results apply to real conditions seen in developing countries. In order to address this concern, this work aims to create a mathematical model representing the f-sand system to bridge the gap between laboratory and real world conditions. To accomplish this, classic environmental filtration models for particle removal were examined and applied to the f-sand system. Further, the electrostatic interactions specific to the f-sand column were studied to determine if they need to be incorporated into this model. The goal is for an end-user to be able to specify inputs such as column size, sand grain size, etc. and use the model to predict how much water the f-sand column will clean.