A lack of clean drinking water is a major problem in many parts of the world. A scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology thinks he may have come up with a low-cost solution: sticks.
Yes, sticks. Rohit Karnik recently co-authored a study published in the journal PLOS ONE that details how xylem can be used to filter bacteria from water, NPR reports. Xylem, for those whose grasp of botany is tenuous, is a kind of "vascular tissue" in trees and plants "primarily involved in transporting water and nutrients."
Karnik told NPR xylem has "membranes with pores and other mechanisms by which bubbles are prevented from easily spreading and flowing in the xylem tissue." Those pores, Karnik found, could also be used in the filtering of bacteria in water.
To prove it worked, he created a simple setup in his lab. He peeled the bark off a pine branch and took the sapwood underneath containing the xylem into a tube. He then sent a stream of water containing tiny particlesRead More »from Simple sticks contain potential answer to cleaner drinking water