Arsenic is a poisonous metalloid which, because of its hydroscopic nature, is primarily transported through water. Most plant species, including the nopal cactus, produce a sticky substance called mucilage. Mucilage swells in water but is insoluble and can precipitate ions, bacteria and particles from aqueous solutions. The invention includes a method of separating particulates and heavy metals such as arsenic (As) from drinking water using natural flocculants obtained from cactus mucilage. The extraction techniques and the methodology for using the cactus mucilage obtain higher As removal than conventional methods, like aluminum sulfate precipitation.
Alcantar, Norma A.; Joseph, Babu; and Young, Kevin, "Water purification method using plant molecules" (2011). USF Patents. 394.
University of South Florida