Hyderabad: IIT researchers used jamun seeds to remove Fluoride from water

HYDERABAD: Jamun trees are ubiquitous in India. Now, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad have shown that the seed of the humble Jamun fruit can be used to remove excess fluoride from groundwater.

A team led by Chandra Shekhar Sharma, assistant professor, Department of Chemical Engineering at IIT, Hyderabad has succeeded in reducing fluoride level in water using `activated carbon obtained from Jamun seeds.

This new study provides a relief as excess fluoride in groundwater is a major problem in several states as it causes health problems and fluorisis has majorly been felt in Nalgonda district of Telangana.

The findings of the IIT team were published recently in the Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering.

The researcher converted Jamun seed powder into a highly porous carbon material. It was then processed further at high temperatures to improve its efficiency.

The material was first used in trials carried out on synthetic fluoride solutions prepared in laboratory, Sharma said in a release here.

Later, tests were conducted using groundwater samples collected from the Nalgonda district of Telangana, known to be one of the worst fluoride-affected areas in India.

Results showed that it reduced the fluoride concentration to less than 1.5 mg/litre, the acceptable limit as per the World Health Organisation.

As many as 17 states in India face the problem of higher-than-recommended fluoride levels in groundwater, Sharma said, adding that it creates a major problem for safe drinking water supply.

“Although there is a long way to go before successful commercialisation of this idea, the IIT Hyderabad Research Team has demonstrated a potential for a bio-based waste material like Jamun seed for fluoride removal from drinking water,” he said.

“The performance of Jamun Seed Derived Carbon was found to be superior to most other biomass-derived carbons which were reported earlier (in research papers),” he said.

Ramya Araga, lead author of the study, said the team is now working on finding ways to remove various water pollutants using the Jamun Seed Derived Carbon.

With PTI inputs