Fluoride in water has remained an endemic problem across many parts of India. Some of the worst affected districts with fluoride in water problem are also some of the poorest within our country – compounding the effects of fluorosis.
Therefore, the efforts of scientists at IIT Hyderabad are well placed. They have used the powder of Jamun seeds (Java Plum) and turned it into fluoride absorbing powder by activating it via heat based activation with potassium hydroxide.
The team tested this activated Jamun powder at Nalgonda, Telangana which is the worst fluoride-affected district. They were able to reduce the fluoride content of water from 3.25 mg/l to 1.5 mg/l (WHO defined limit) within two hours of exposure time.
The scientists reported that the powder can then be treated to heat (50oC) and 96% of fluoride can be safely desorbed. Making the activated Jamun seed powder reusable. Thus increasing the longevity of the activated Jamun seed powder. The desorbed fluoride sludge can be safely treated with sodium hydroxide to be converted into sodium fluoride which can be used in other activities. However, better methods of disposal of the sludge are being investigated by the scientists.
The next goal of this team will be to test the activated Jamun seed powder in a solution with fluoride, arsenic and other heavy metals to understand whether it can become a multilateral solution to metal pollution in groundwater.
Courtesy : The Hindu