Fluoride Action Network

Fluoride’s crippling effect can be tackled by Jamun seed, IIT Hyderabad researchers find out

Source: The Times of India | October 25th, 2017 | By Ch Sushil Rao |
Location: India

HYDERABAD: There is big hope for 17 fluoride states of the country as IIT Hyderabad has been successful in removing fluoride from drinking water using Jamun seed derived carbon. Fluoride victims victims suffer major health issues, especially bone and dental disorders. The crippling effect of fluorisis has majorly been felt in Nalgonda district of Telangana.

Such is the problem of fluorosis in the 100 districts of the country that a National Programme for Prevention and Control for Fluorosis was started in 2002. The programme was chalked out till 2017 to provide clean drinking water to fluoride affected areas.

IIT Hyderabad has now successfully conducted tests on groundwater collected from Nalgonda which is one of the worst fluoride-affected areas in India.

Researchers developed what they call an unconventional material to remove fluoride from drinking water. Using a Jamun Seed based Activated Carbon, the researchers demonstrated that fluoride levels can be brought down to what are 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 tested in the actual groundwater samples collected from Nalgonda district. 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 is expected to be useful in ensuring clean and safe drinking water to everyone. The idea may take time to be commercialized but the IIT Hyderabad Research Team has demonstrated a potential for a bio-based 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 said.

“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,” Prof Chandra Shekhar Sharma he explained.

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