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BHU (Banaras Hindu University). Wikimedia Commons

The scientists of IIT-BHU have developed a system to extract toxic substances from water by using ash made from teak and neem wood. This method is not only eco-friendly but also inexpensive and can also be adapted to purify Ganga water besides reducing the cost of ROs while retaining the available minerals in the water.

Vishal Mishra, an assistant professor of biochemical engineering, and his team have prepared two different types of adsorbent from the ashes of teak wood sawdust and neem stalk, thereby, separating the harmful metals, ions from the water that can be made potable.

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He said that in recent years, adsorption has been considered inexpensive and more effective than other chemical techniques. It costs less and is considered very effective in the prevention of water-borne diseases. Mishra said that the wood powder of teak (scientific name: Tectona grandis) is mixed with sodium thiosulfate and heated in an atmosphere of nitrogen to make activated charcoal.

Also, the adsorbent is also made from neem (scientific name: Azadirachta Indica) and stalk ash (neem twig ash). On one hand, the teak can extract harmful gases, ions, sulfur, selenium in water from coal made of wood, and, on the other, the study of neem ash is intended for the treatment of polluted water containing copper, nickel, and zinc.

Inexpensive and more effective than other chemical techniques. Pixabay

He pointed out that many researchers in the world have already investigated available porous (perforated / extremely small holes) charcoal as an active agent, but their method of chemical synthesis involves several drawbacks.

Porous charcoal made from sawdust wood powder is harmless and eco-friendly. Sodium thiosulfate is not a toxic reagent (a chemical substance helps in the discovery of other substances). It has many medicinal applications. On the other hand, neem seeds, bark, and leaves have been used as an adsorbent by various researchers but neem stalk ashes have not been used for the purity of water.

ALSO READ: How IITs Are Helping People Get Clean Drinking Water Across The Country

He said that the nickel present in water is responsible for asthma, neuro disorder, nausea, kidney and lung cancer. Zinc causes fatigue, lethargy, dizziness, and excessive thirst while the excess copper in the water is genotoxic, which can cause changes in DNA and also damage the liver and kidneys. According to him, this method can also be adapted to purify Ganga water. The Ganga is rich in nickel, zinc, and copper.

The packed Bed Column (PBC) method in Ganga is made clean with the help of ETP (Efficient Treatment Plant). In these ETPs, initiatives can be taken to clean Ganga water very cheaply, using coal made from teak wood and ash made from Neem stalks. He said that it may also reduce the cost of RO being sold in the market. Currently, RO systems are installed in almost every household. Coal made from teak wood sawdust can be used to purify water in place of the activated charcoal in the RO system. This will also reduce the total cost of RO and the available minerals in the water will be safe. (IANS/SP)



The researchers exposed saliva samples from Covid-19 patients to the ACE2 gum and found that levels of viral RNA fell so dramatically to be almost undetectable.

A chewing gum laced with a plant-grown protein serves as a "trap" for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, reducing viral load in saliva and potentially tamping down transmission, finds a new study.

The researchers exposed saliva samples from Covid-19 patients to the ACE2 gum and found that levels of viral RNA fell so dramatically to be almost undetectable, indicates the study published in the journal Molecular Therapy.

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"SARS-CoV-2 replicates in the salivary glands, and we know that when someone d sneezes, coughs, or speaks some of that virus can be expelled and reach others," said researcher Henry Daniell from the University of Pennsylvania in the US.

"This gum offers an opportunity to neutralise the virus in the saliva, giving us a simple way to possibly cut down on a source of disease transmission," Daniell added.

To test the chewing gum, the team grew angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in plants, paired with another compound that enables the protein to cross mucosal barriers and facilitates binding, and incorporated the resulting plant material into cinnamon-flavoured gum tablets.

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