Sudanese Plants Show Promise in Removing Heavy Metals

According to an article printed in the Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, three Sudanese medicinal plants may have the ability to remove heavy metals from water. Ethanol extracts were taken from the local and common plants moringa, bulrush, and Egyptian lemongrass and used to treat water contaminated with one of four common heavy metals.  All three plants successfully absorbed cadmium, chromium, and zinc from the water samples.  Bulrush and Egyptian lemongrass extracts were successful in absorbing lead, but strangely the moringa extract failed.  This conflicted with past research where moringa was found to absorb lead. The researchers believe this to be the case because the moringa seeds they used in the test were “defatted”.  Removing the fat from the seeds may also have removed essential oils which may be necessary in absorbing the lead.

The researchers concluded, “The results of this study showed that all tested plants have capability to remove such metals and the study had confirmed the traditional use of these plants in water purification.  Therefore, a wide investigation of these plants for their removal potent of heavy metals and the identification of the flavonoids of these plants would be an interesting line of inquiry.”

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