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Indian-Origin Researchers at York University in Toronto find ‘sweet’ solution to Purify Contaminated Water

The paper strip solution called "DipTreat" is laced with sugar to kill E. coli bacteria in contaminated water

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Toronto, Nov 15, 2016: Indian-origin researchers at York University in Toronto have developed a solution for water treatment that uses only naturally available antimicrobial substances and sugar.

The paper strip solution called “DipTreat” is laced with sugar to kill E. coli bacteria in contaminated water.

“We were able to efficiently remove almost 90 percent of bacteria by dipping the special paper strip, DipTreat, in contaminated water samples,” said one of the researchers Sushanta Mitra.

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The discovery will be key to developing a new generation of inexpensive and portable water treatment devices, with human health benefits around the world – from the far north of Canada to the remote villages of India, Mitra said.

“Now with DipTreat, we have learned it will take less than two hours to fish, trap and kill E. coli in water,” Mitra, Professor at York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering.

While using porous paper strips to trap the bacterial cells, for killing, the researchers used an antimicrobial agent extracted from the seeds of moringa — commonly known as drumstick or horseradish tree.

As a result, the DipTreat solution for water treatment uses only naturally available antimicrobial substances and sugar, with minimal environmental and health impact.

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Currently, popular water treatment systems use silver nanoparticles and clays, whose long term impact on human health is yet to be fully understood, according Mitra.

So far, DipTreat is effective for small quantities of water. For example, someone who is hiking can collect a glass of water and then dip the paper strips to purify it before drinking.

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The researchers believe that the invention could lead to a much greater impact.

Published in the journal Environmental Science Water Research & Technology, the study is co-authored by Mitra, Saumyadeb Dasgupta and Naga Siva Gunda. (IANS)

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NASA’s Probe Discovers Signs Of Water on Asteroid Bennu

OSIRIS-REx will pass later this month just 1.2 miles (1.9 km) from Bennu, entering the asteroid's gravitational pull and analyzing its terrain.

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This Nov. 16, 2018, image provide by NASA shows the asteroid Bennu. NASA

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has discovered ingredients for water on a relatively nearby skyscraper-sized asteroid, a rocky acorn-shaped object that may hold clues to the origins of life on Earth, scientists said on Monday.

OSIRIS-REx, which flew last week within a scant 12 miles (19 km) of the asteroid Bennu some 1.4 million miles (2.25 million km) from Earth, found traces of hydrogen and oxygen molecules — part of the recipe for water and thus the potential for life — embedded in the asteroid’s rocky surface.

The probe, on a mission to return samples from the asteroid to Earth for study, was launched in 2016. Bennu, roughly a third of a mile wide (500 meters), orbits the sun at roughly the same distance as Earth. There is concern among scientists about the possibility of Bennu impacting Earth late in the 22nd century.

 

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx. Flickr

 

“We have found the water-rich minerals from the early solar system, which is exactly the kind of sample we were going out there to find and ultimately bring back to Earth,” University of Arizona planetary scientist Dante Lauretta, the OSIRIS-REx mission’s principal investigator, said in a telephone interview.

Asteroids are among the leftover debris from the solar system’s formation some 4.5 billion years ago. Scientists believe asteroids and comets crashing into early Earth may have delivered organic compounds and water that seeded the planet for life, and atomic-level analysis of samples from Bennu could provide key evidence to support that hypothesis.

“When samples of this material are returned by the mission to Earth in 2023, scientists will receive a treasure trove of new information about the history and evolution of our solar system,” Amy Simon, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, said in a statement.

OSIRIS-REx, NASA, Asteroid
This illustration provided by NASA depicts the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft at the asteroid Bennu. The rocky remnant from the dawn of the solar system may hold clues to the origins of life. VOA

“We’re really trying to understand the role that these carbon-rich asteroids played in delivering water to the early Earth and making it habitable,” Lauretta added.

OSIRIS-REx will pass later this month just 1.2 miles (1.9 km) from Bennu, entering the asteroid’s gravitational pull and analyzing its terrain. From there, the spacecraft will begin to gradually tighten its orbit around the asteroid, spiraling to within just 6 feet (2 meters) of its surface so its robot arm can snatch a sample of Bennu by July 2020.

Also Read: Wintertime Ice Growth in Arctic Sea Slows Long-Term Decline: NASA

The spacecraft will later fly back to Earth, jettisoning a capsule bearing the asteroid specimen for a parachute descent in the Utah desert in September 2023. (VOA)