Today’s Solutions: October 24, 2021

Xylem is a thin material that makes up the interiors of non-flowering trees. This straw-like conduit material draws water up from the ground to nourish trees and is interconnected with membranes that filter out sap and bubbles from the water. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are looking at this natural material as a potential water filtration tool for remote or underdeveloped areas. 

The researchers took samples of xylem from sapwood branches and fitted them into wooden disks that are capable of filtering out bacteria and viruses. In lab settings, the material successfully removed E. coli and rotavirus from water samples. 

To test the technology in real-world applications, the researchers distributed the filters to residents in India who used them to disinfect their water and reported that the filters yielded a liter of fresh drinking water every hour. 

The technology behind the filters is relatively simple, which is what makes them so perfect for meeting the emergency filtration needs of communities without fresh drinking water. The researchers have now launched an open-source website with information on how to fabricate xylem filters from various tree types. They hope the site will enable entrepreneurs and aid organizations to develop the filters for broader use in areas in need.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

These seaweed-inspired sensors use underwater currents to power themselves

Ocean protection increasingly relies on the internet of things (IoT) to gather essential data with the help of a variety of marine distributed sensors underwater. Most of these devices, however, have always been highly dependent ... Read More

Doctors complete first successful pig to human kidney transplant

For the first time ever, doctors at NYU Langone Health in New York City have successfully transplanted a pig kidney into a human. The primary function of this organ is to filter waste products and ... Read More

Vienna Tourist Board thwarts social media with unusual platform

The events of the past year or so have made us wonder: how much power should social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have over what we see, and what we are presented with? Due ... Read More

This sustainable pigment is made from sewage sludge

While it may be comforting to think that everything we send down the drain somehow magically disappears without leaving an ecological footprint behind, that is far from what actually happens. In reality, the process involves ... Read More

The Calm Line is Colombia’s anti-machismo hotline for men

Cultures that are deeply ingrained with the concept of machismo, or the belief that men must be dominant, often have issues surrounding abuse and violence against women. While there are many women-centered movements and support ... Read More

Benefits of the contraceptive pill include diabetes prevention

A study carried out at the University of Birmingham has found that contraceptive pills may offer more than just their primary role as birth control. It was found that for people with polycystic ovary syndrome ... Read More