One way to avoid getting sick while traveling is to eat only fruit that you peel yourself, as plants can kill bacteria. Well, why not apply this principle to water filtration directly?
A team of scientists has done just that, testing how effective pine wood is in filtering water using xylem, a lignified conductive plant tissue that transports fluids from one part of vascular plants to another. The results, published last week in the journal PLoS ONE, were very promising. “Filtration using three different xylem filters showed almost complete filtration of the bacteria,” capturing at least 99.9% of them, the authors wrote.
The xylem filters used in the study appeared to capture almost all particles larger than 100 nanometers in diameter, meaning they would exclude protozoa (such as Giardia ) as well. Other smaller viruses can get through the filter, but research suggests that other types of wood with smaller pores could possibly be used to filter out these smaller pathogens.
According to the study, fresh wood appears to filter much better than dead wood.
To make a homemade water filter, all you have to do is peel the bark from a pine branch and glue it onto a tube, sealing the holes between the twig and the tube with epoxy, a glue. Each twig filters 4 liters of water a day, enough for one person.
” The simple construction of xylem filters, combined with their manufacture from a cheap and biodegradable material, could potentially lead to widespread use and significantly reduce the incidence of water-borne infectious diseases in the world “, concluded the authors.
This type of simple technology is especially important in places that for different reasons do not have access to the most modern technologies. Having methods to purify water simply and effectively can be of great help in many communities.
How to make a homemade water filter.
With each branch you use, you can filter 4 liters of water every day.
- We remove the bark from the fresh pine branch.
- We insert the pine branch into a plastic hose.
- We adjust, so that there are no losses, with a metal clamp.
More information: journals.plos.org