Removes Fluoride from Drinking Water Using Jamun Seed Derived Carbon

Removes Fluoride from Drinking Water Using Jamun Seed Derived Carbon 

-Navneet Kumar Gupta 

In India fluorosis is mainly due to excessive fluoride in water except in parts of Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh where industrial fluorosis is also seen. The desirable limit of fluoride as per Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is 1ppm (parts per million or 1 mg per litre).

Fluorosis is a crippling disease resulted from deposition of fluorides in the hard and soft tissues of body. It is a public health problem caused by excess intake of fluoride through drinking water/food products/industrial pollutants over a long period. Ingestion of excess fluoride, most commonly in drinking-water affects the teeth and bones. It results in major health disorders like dental fluorosis, skeletal fluorosis and non-skeletal fluorosis.

Recently Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad Researchers have developed an Unconventional Material to remove fluoride from drinking water. Using a Jamun Seed based Activated Carbon, the Researchers demonstrated that they can bring down fluoride to levels considered acceptable by World Health Organization.

The findings were published recently in the Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering. A team led by Prof. Chandra Shekhar Sharma, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Hyderabad, used the Jamun Seed based Activated Carbon for Fluoride Removal Studies.
Jamun Seed Powder was converted to highly porous carbon material by chemical treatment followed by processing at higher temperatures to improve its efficiency. Initially, trials were carried out with the obtained material for synthetic fluoride solutions prepared in the laboratory.

Later they have tested on the actual groundwater samples collected from Nalgonda District, Telangana, which is one of the worst fluoride-affected areas in India. Post-treatment, the fluoride concentration was reduced to the acceptable limit of WHO (less than 1.5 mg/l).

Explaining the importance of this work, Prof. Chandra Shekhar Sharma said, “In India, Groundwater is the major and preferred source of drinking water. Almost 17 states are found to be having higher fluoride concentrations in groundwater than the recommended limit. The presence of excess fluoride content creates a major problem in safe drinking water supply.”

This research can go a long way in helping the Country provide clean and safe drinking water to everyone. Althrough there is a long way to go before successful commercialization of this idea, the IIT Hyderabad Research Team has demonstrated a potential for a biobased waste material like Jamun seed for fluoride removal from drinking water. Given the situation of excess fluoride in a country like India, this kind of cost-effective approach certainly is needed, said Prof. Chandra Shekhar Sharma.

“The performance of the Jamun Seed Derived Carbon was found to be superior to most of the other biomass-derived carbons which were reported earlier in literature. Jamun is a seasonal fruit abundantly available in India and jamun seed powder is known to be used effectively in various Ayurvedic formulations,” adds Prof Chandra Shekhar Sharma.

Ms. Ramya Araga, lead author of the study, said that the prepared carbon material was examined in detail and found to have exceptional properties. Now, the team is working on the removal of various Aquatic Pollutants using the Jamun Seed Derived Carbon.

Prof. Chandra Shekhar Sharma and his team of Researchers at IIT Hyderabad have a special interest in Nature-Inspired Materials and Technologies. Prof. Chandra Shekhar Sharma was recently selected for the prestigious Young Scientist Award by National Science Academy of India for his contribution to Physical Sciences.
Navneet Kumar Gupta is a science communicator working as a Project Officer (Edusat) in Vigyan Prasar-National institute of Science communication under the Department. of Science & Technology. Govt. Of India. He has deep interest in popular science writing for general public through Print and electronic media. Besides his twelve books, he has written more than 200 popular science articles. He has edited/authored/co-authored more than 10 books. He have been awarded six National Awards including Rajbhasha Award, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India He has had a long stint as Associate Editor, VIPNET news - a popular science magazine. You may contact him at -
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