Daniela Miranda de Lima Stebbins is a post-doc who traveled to Haiti to study how cactus mucilage can be extracted and used to improve the quality of potable water that has been compromised as a devastating result of earthquakes. She discussed her research project and its implications with ChEnected at the Second International Congress for Sustainability Science and Engineering. Watch the interview in the video located in the right panel.
The mucilage is an extract from the Opuntia ficus-indica, commonly known as Nopal or Prickly pear cactus. This readily available and inexpensive natural extract has been show to remove turbidity, bacteria, and arsenic from synthetic water in laboratory trials. It is hypothesized that the mucilage will be able to improve the quality of earthquake impacted potable water sources by lowering the suspended solids, bacteria, and heavy metal content of the water.