Aside from its potential as biofuel feedstock, the seed of moringa, locally known as malunggay, could also be used for treating water, a Filipino scientist said yesterday. Dr. Isidro Sia, a professor of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the University of the Philippines-Manila, said moringa seeds have been found to be one of the most effective water purifiers, based on international studies. He said the technology is being used in Kenya, Indonesia and Uganda. In the Philippines, he said UP has an ongoing project to study the water-purifying property of the local variety.
According to research, moringa seeds treat water on two levels, acting both as a coagulant and an antimicrobial agent. “It is generally accepted that moringa works as a coagulant due to positively charged, water-soluble proteins which bind with negatively charged particles (silt, clay, bacteria, toxins, etc.) allowing the resulting ‘flocs’ to settle to the bottom or be removed by filtration.
The antimicrobial aspects of moringa continue to be researched,” it said.
Solutions of moringa seeds for water treatment may be prepared from seed kernels or from the solid residue left over after oil extraction. Reports said moringa seeds, seed kernels or dried presscake can be stored for long periods but moringa solutions for treating water should be prepared fresh each time. In general, one seed kernel will treat one liter of water. The process of treating the water with moringa seeds would take at least one to two hours. “This clean water can then be filtered or sterilized to make it completely safe for drinking,” a report said.
Moringa is also being promoted as animal feedstock.
According to research, moringa has seven times the vitamin C in oranges, four times the calcium in milk, four times the vitamin A in carrots, three times the potassium in bananas, and two times the protein in milk. In addition to nutritional qualities, it has medicinal uses, external and internal. Its oil can also be used for cooking and for cosmetics and lubricants.
Medical experts and herbalists attest to the long line of health benefits of Malunggay (scientific name: Moringa oleifera). And the most recent finding by researchers at the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) shows that crushed Malunggay seeds are potent in purifying dirty water. The research has scientifically proven the practice of Filipinos and Egyptians in using crushed malunggay to purify water. The PSU researchers claimed in a paper that the protein in the Malunggay seed kills bacteria by gathering them into clusters that sink into the bottom of a container. The protein fuses the membranes that protect the bacteria, thus destroying them in one fell swoop. The proteins are reportedly potent in their cleaning ability when harvested as mature seeds during the rainy season.
Writing for Popular Science on June 11, 2015, Mary Beth Griggs said the role of Malunggay seeds as water purifier would be a boon to hundreds of millions of people with little access to potable water. With Malunggay seeds as alternative, those living in remote communities need not secure nanotech filters and light-based water purifiers. Indian researchers also discovered that Malunggay improves the motility of spermatozoa, making it a favorite among men who want to sire many children.
Several years ago, the Department of Agriculture (DA) launched a campaign to popularize the propagation of Malunggay through the Biotechnology Program Office (BPO) then under Dr. Alice Ilaga and consultant Dr. Satunina Halos. It was even suggested that oil from Malunggay seeds could be extracted and used for various pharmaceutical purposes. Malunggay leaves are a good source of calcium, iron, ascorbic acid and phosphorous. Filipino boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao credits soups with Malunggay leaves for boosting his energy during training.
Moringa Water Purification
In many parts of the world river water which can be highly turbid is used for drinking purposes. This turbidity is conventionally removed by treating the water with expensive chemicals, many of which are imported at great expense. Natural coagulants have been used for centuries in traditional water treatment practices throughout certain areas of the developing world.
Crushed Moringa seeds clarify and purify water to suit domestic use and lower the bacterial concentration in the water making it safe for drinking. By using Moringa seeds people will no longer be depending on expensive means originating from the West. Using Moringa to purify water replaces chemicals such as aluminium sulphate, which are dangerous to people and the environment, and are expensive.
Moringa seed powder can be used as a quick and simple method for cleaning dirty river water. Studies showed that this simple method of filtering not only diminishes water pollution, but also harmful bacteria. The moringa powder joins with the solids in the water and sinks to the bottom. This treatment also removes 90-99% of bacteria contained in water. Water from varying sources will need different amounts of Moringa seeds powder because of the impurities present will not be the same. Experiments with a jar will help in working out the correct amount needed. Moringa
In addition to food, shelter and clothing, water is one of our basic human needs and lack of potable water is a major cause of death and disease in our world. Moringa oleifera seed contains 40 per cent by weight of oil, with the remaining presscake containing the active ingredients for natural coagulation. The high market value for the oil make the case for promoting the cultivation of the seed a strong one. The growth of Moringa oleifera trees by smallholder farmers should be actively promoted as a means of providing vegetables and raw material for oil extraction in addition to a simple, but effective natural coagulant for turbid river water.
Using natural materials to clarify water is a technique that has been practiced for centuries and of all the materials that have been used, seeds of the Moringa have been found to be one of the most effective. Studies have been conducted since the early 1970’s to test the effectiveness of Moringa seeds for treating water. These studies have confirmed that the seeds are highly effective in removing suspended particles from water with medium to high levels of turbidity (Moringa seeds are less effective at treating water with low levels of turbidity).
Moringa Water Purification Theory
Moringa oleifera seeds treat water on two levels, acting both as a coagulant and an antimicrobial agent. It is generally accepted that Moringa works as a coagulant due to positively charged, water-soluble proteins, which bind with negatively charged particles (silt, clay, bacteria, toxins, etc) allowing the resulting “flocs” to settle to the bottom or be removed by filtration. The antimicrobial aspects of Moringa continue to be researched. Findings support recombinant proteins both removing microorganisms by coagulation as well as acting directly as growth inhibitors of the microorganisms. While there is ongoing research being conducted on the nature and characteristics of these components, it is accepted that treatments with Moringa solutions will remove 90-99.9% of the impurities in water.
Water Treatment with Moringa Seeds
Solutions of Moringa seeds for water treatment may be prepared from seed kernels or from the solid residue left over after oil extraction (presscake). Moringa seeds, seed kernels or dried presscake can be stored for long periods but Moringa solutions for treating water should be prepared fresh each time. In general, 1 seed kernel will treat 1 liter (1.056 qt) of water.
Low turbidity NTU250 2 seeds per 1 liter (1.056 qt) water
INSTRUCTIONS TO CLEAN WATER WITH MORINGA SEEDS
1 Collect mature Moringa oleifera seed pods and remove seeds from pods. 2 Shell seeds (remove seed coat) to obtain clean seed kernels; discard discolored seeds. 3 Determine quantity of kernels needed based on amount and turbidity of water; in general 1 seed kernel will treat 1 liter (1.056 qt) of water. 4 Crush appropriate number of seed kernels (using grinder, mortar & pestle, etc) to obtain a fine powder and sift the powder through a screen or small mesh. 5 Mix seed powder with a small amount of clean water to form a paste. 6 Mix the paste and 250 ml (1 cup) of clean water into a bottle and shake for 1 minute to activate the coagulant properties and form a solution.
7 Filter this solution through a muslin cloth or fine mesh screen (to remove insoluble materials) and into the water to be treated. 8 Stir treated water rapidly for at least 1 minute then slowly (15-20 rotations per minute) for 5-10 minutes. 9 Let the treated water sit without disturbing for at least 1-2 hours. 10 When the particles and contaminates have settled to the bottom, the clean water can be carefully poured off. 11 This clean water can then be filtered or sterilized to make it completely safe for drinking.
Secondary Infection: The process of shaking and stirring must be followed closely to activate the coagulant properties; if the flocculation process takes too long, there is a risk of secondary bacteria growth during flocculation. Recontamination: The process of settling is important. The sediment at the bottom contains the impurities so care must be taken to use only the clear water off the top and not allow the sediment to re-contaminate the cleared water. Additional contaminants: Moringa treatment does not remove 100% of water pathogens.
Using Moringa oleifera as a replacement coagulant for proprietary coagulants meets the need for water and wastewater technology in developing countries which is simple to use, robust and cheap to both install and maintain. Water purified with oringa seeds, is acceptable for drinking only where people are currently drinking untreated, contaminated water.