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27 APR 2010
 
Scientists investigate 19th century Mexican communities water purification method. Using a common type of cactus found the world over called a Prickly Pear Cactus, the team extracted the cactus's mucilage ( a thick gum the plant uses to store water). This "gum" when mixed with water containing high levels of setiment, and/or bacterium Bacillus cereus, acts as a flocculant, which causes the setiment as well as the bacteria to combine with themselves and settle. This technique allows 98 percent of the bacteria to be filtered from the water.
 
For household use a slice of the cactus could be boiled to release the mucilage and then added to water in need of purification. It is affordable, abundant, and culturally accepted making it a green solution for water purification.
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