In recent years, a great deal of attention has been drawn to the issue of water contamination, particularly in developing countries, where an inexpensive, effective method of reducing waterborne pathogens and contaminants is needed. Experiments performed with mucilage extracted from the Opuntia ficus-indica cactus show that this mucilage is an effective tool for clearing contaminants from water supplies, including the removal of Escherichia coli and Bacillus cereus bacteria, and the reduction of arsenic concentrations with very low mucilage concentrations (5 mg/L and 10 mg/L). Results for Bacillus and E. coli show settling to be complete in approximately five to ten minutes with removal rates of up to 97%, when CaCl2 is co-applied. Arsenic is removed at between 35% to 85% by increasing the contact time between the mucilage and the arsenic solutions depending on the pH and mucilage concentration.
Alcantar, Norma A.; Joseph, Babu; Young, Kevin A.; and Buttice, Audrey Lynn, "Composition and method to reduce sediment and bacterial contamination from water" (2018). USF Patents. 1086.
University of South Florida