IIT-Hyd researchers remove fluoride from water using jamun seeds

Seed powder turned to highly porous carbon, which helps remove fluorides

IIT-Hyd researchers remove fluoride from water using jamun seeds

In a path-breaking achievement, researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology- Hyderabad have developed an unconventional material to remove fluoride from drinking water.

Using jamun seed-based activated carbon, the researchers demonstrated that they can bring down fluoride to levels considered acceptable by the World Health Organisation.

The findings were published recently in the Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering. A team led by Prof Chandra Shekhar Sharma, assistant professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT-Hyderabad, used the jamun seed-based activated carbon for fluoride removal studies.

Jamun seed powder was converted to highly porous carbon material by chemical treatment followed by processing at higher temperatures to improve its efficiency. Initially, trials were carried out with the obtained material on fluoride solutions prepared in the laboratory.

Later they were tested on actual groundwater samples collected from Nalgonda district, Telangana, which is one of the worst fluoride-affected areas in India. Post-treatment, the fluoride concentration was reduced to the acceptable limit (less than 1.5 mg/litre), a press statement said.

Explaining the importance of this work, Prof Sharma said, "In India, groundwater is the major and preferred source of drinking water. As many as 17 states are found to have higher fluoride concentrations in groundwater than the recommended limit. The presence of excess fluoride creates a major problem in safe drinking water supply."

In a country like India, this kind of cost-effective approach is certainly needed, he added.

Ramya Araga, lead author of the study, said the prepared carbon material was examined in detail and found to have exceptional properties. Now, the team is working on the removal of various aquatic pollutants using the jamun seed-derived carbon.

 

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