Abstract

Moringa oleifera seeds are well known for their ability to cause flocculation in turbid water and facilitate bacterial inhibition. These effects are due to the cationic polypeptide MO2.1, which affects the surface charge of suspended particles and causes lysis of bacterial cells. However, the attachment of bacteria to MO2.1 prevents further bacterial attachment, reducing the effectiveness of the seeds. This research investigated the effect of surfactants on functionality and reuse of Moringa seeds to develop a sustainable water treatment technique. The seed extracts (MO2.1) were used with a functionalised sand system, and the sands were exposed to commercially available (ionic and non-ionic) surfactants, dodecyl glucoside and sodium dodecyl sulfate. Artificially polluted water contaminated with Escherichia coli was used to evaluate the efficiency of the system. The non-ionic surfactant was found to be effective at separating E. coli from the functionalised sand without the detachment of the MO2.1 and subsequent loss of the system efficiency. This was successfully repeated four times. The results demonstrated a sustainable, reusable technique to inhibit bacterial contamination in water.

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