Cactus gum could make clean water cheap for millions


By Helen Knight FORGET expensive machinery, the best way to purify water could be hiding in a cactus. It turns out that an extract from the prickly pear cactus is effective at removing sediment and bacteria from dirty water. Many water purification methods introduced into the developing world are quickly abandoned as people don’t know how to use and maintain them, says Norma Alcantar at the University of South Florida in Tampa. So she and her colleagues decided to investigate the prickly pear cactus, Opuntia ficus-indica,
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