The use of indigenous plant species for drinking water treatment in developing countries: a review

Paper Details

Research Paper 01/09/2014
Views (261) Download (25)

The use of indigenous plant species for drinking water treatment in developing countries: a review

Moa Megersa, Abebe Beyene, Argaw Ambelu, Bizuneh Woldeab
J. Bio. Env. Sci.5( 3), 269-281, September 2014.
Certificate: JBES 2014 [Generate Certificate]


Although universal access to safe and piped water is an important long-term solution, it is very expensive and challenging to implement in developing countries in the short term. Hence, improving both physicochemical and microbiological quality of drinking water at a household level is believed to be effective in preventing infectious diarrhea. There are a number of household water treatment technologies proven to be effective in coagulation and disinfection. At present, a number of effective coagulants and disinfectants have been identified of plant origin. Of the large number of plant materials that have been used over the years, the seeds from Moringa oleifera have been shown to be one of the most effective primary coagulants for water treatment, especially in rural communities. In addition, indigenous knowledge indicates that there are several plant species that can be used as a coagulant and disinfectant. Out of which seeds of Prosopis juliflora, Dolichos lablab and leaves of Opuntia ficus indica showed effectiveness in coagulation. Although, plant species have enormous advantage in water treatment, they also have limitation. The major limitation is the release of organic matter and nutrients to apply at large scale. From these review, it can be concluded that plant species have the potential to serve as a complementary water treatment agent especially in rural areas.


Ali EN, Muyibi SA, Salleh HM, Alam MDZ, Salleh MRM. 2010. Production of natural coagulants from Moringa oleifera seed for application in treatment of low turbid water. Journal of Water Resource and Protection 2, 259-266.

Al-Sameraiy M. 2012. A novel water pretreatment approach for turbidity removal using Date seeds and Pollen sheath. Journal of Water Resource and Protection 4, 79-92.

Amagloh FK, Benang B. 2009. Effectiveness of Moringa oleifera seed as coagulant for water purification. African Journal of Agricultural Research 4 (1), 119-123.

Asrafuzzaman M, Fakhruddin ANM, Alamgir Hossain M. 2011. Reduction of turbidity of water using locally available natural coagulants. International Scholarly Research Network Microbiology, 1-6.

Aweng ER, Anwar AI, Siti Rafiqah MI, Suhaimi O. 2012. Cassia alata as a potential coagulant in water treatment. Research Journal of Recent Sciences 1(2), 28-33.

Bichi MH. 2013. A Review of the applications of Moringa oleifera seeds extract in water treatment. Civil and Environmental Research 3(8), 1-10.

Blix A. 2011Enhancing the capacity of seeds as turbidity removal agents in water treatment. Degree project, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.

Booth J, Nykiforuk C, Shen Y, Zapalchinski S, Szarka S, Kuhlman P, Murray E, Morck D, Moloney MM. 2010. Seed based expression systems for plant molecular farming. Plant Biotechnology Journal 8, 588-606.

Choubey S, Rajput SK, Bapat KN. 2012. Comparison of some natural coagulantsbioremediation. International Journal of Technology and Advanced Engineering 2(10), 429-434.

Davy N. 2001. Moringa as alternative to aluminum sulfate. In: people and system for water, sanitation and health, 27th WEDC conference236-238 Lusaka.

Dery BB, Ofsynia R, Ngatigwa C. 1999. Indigenous knowledge of medicinal trees and setting priorities for their domestication. Shiryanga region, Tanzania, Nairobi, Kenya. International center for research in agroforestry.

Diaz AN, Rincon A, Escorihuela N, Fernandez E, Chacin CF, Forster A. 1999. Preliminary evaluation of turbidity removal by natural coagulants indigenous to Venezuela . Process Biochemistry 35, 391–395.

Enderlin. 1997. Water quality requirements. In: Helmer R, Hespanhol I, eds. Water pollution control A guide to the use of water quality management principles. UNEP, 23-54.

Edogbanya PRO, Ocholi OJ, Apeji Y. 2013. A review on the use of plants’ seeds as biocoagulants in the purification of water. Continental Journal of Biological Science 6(2), 26 – 32.

Fahey J. 2005. Moringa Oleifera; A review of the medical evidence for its nutritional therapeutic and prophylactic properties. Part 1. Accessed 15 Dec. 2008.

Farnsworth NR. 1994. Ethnopharmacology and drug development in ethnobotany and the search for new drugs. Ciba foundation symposium 185 chic ester, UK: John Wiley and Sons, 42-59.

Gassenschmidt U, Jany KD, Tauscher B, Niebergall H. 1995. Isolation and characterization of a flocculating protein from Moringa oleifera Lam. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1243, 477-481.

Gebremichael KA, Gunaratna KR, Henriksson H, Harry B, Gunnel D. 2005. A simple purification and activity assay of the coagulant protein from Moringa oleifera seed. Water Research 39, 2338-2344.

Grabow W, Slabert JL, Morgan WSG, Jahn SA. 1985. Toxicity and mutagenicity evaluation of water coagulated with Moringa oleifera seed preparations using fish, protozoan, bacterial, coliphage, enzyme, and Ames Salmonella assays. Water SA, 11, 9 –14.

Gunaratna KR, Garcia B, Andersson S, Dalhammar G. 2007. Screening and evaluation of natural coagulants for water treatment. Water Science and Technology: Water Supply 7, 19–25.

Hassan MN, Vivek S, Unnisa SA. 2012. Purification of turbid water with Pisum sativum seeds and solar energy. International Journal of green and Herbal Chemistry 1(3), 296-301.

Jodi ML, Birnin-Yauri UA, Yahaya Y, Sokoto MA. 2012. The use of some plants in water purification. Global Advanced Research Journal of Chemistry and Material Sciences 1(4), 71-75.

Joy PP, Thomas J, MathewS, Skaria BP.1998. Medicinal plants. Kerala Agricultural University, Naya Prokash, Calcutta, 210p.

Katayon S, Megat MJ, Mohd N,  Asma M, Abdul Ghani LA, Thamer AM, Azni I, Ahmad J.Khor BC. 2006. Effects of storage conditions of Moringa oleifera seeds on its performance in coagulation. Bioresource Technology 97, 1455–1460.

Kihampa C, Mwegoha WJS, Kaseva ME, Marobhe N. 2011. Performance of Solanum incunum L. as natural coagulant and disinfectant for drinking water. African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology 5(10), 867-872.

Mangale SM, Chonde SG, Raut PD. 2012a. Use of Moringa oleifera (Drumstick) seed as natural adsorbent and an antimicrobial agent for ground water treatment. Research Journal of Recent Sciences 1(3), 31-40.

Mangale SM, Chonde SG, Raut PD. 2012b. Study of Moringa oleifera (Drumstick) as natural adsorbent and an antimicrobial agent for river water treatment. Journal of Natural Product and Plant Resources 2(1), 89-100.

Marobhe NJ, Gunaratna RK. 2012. Effect of coagulant protein from Parkinsonia aculeata and Citrus juice on bacteria isolated from Ruvu River in Tanzania. International Journal of Applied Sciences and Engineering Research 1(5), 714-724.

Muyibi SA, Evison LM. 1995. Optimizing physical parameters affecting coagulation of turbid Water with Moringa oleifera seeds. Water Research 29, 2689– 2695.

Narasiah KS, Vogel A, Kramadhati NN. 2002. Coagulation of turbid waters using Moringa oleifera seeds from two distinct sources. Water Science and Technology: Water Supply 2, 83–88.

Ndabigengesere A, Narasiah KS, Talbot BG. 1995. Active agents and mechanisms of coagulation of turbid water using Moringa oleifera. Water Research 29(2), 703–710.

Ndabigengesere A, Narasiah KS. 1998. Quality of water treated by coagulation using Moringa oleifera seeds. Water Research 32(3), 781–791.

Nwaiwu NE, Lingmu B. 2011. Studies on the effect of settling time on coliform reduction using Moringa oleifera seed powder. Journal of Applied Science and Environmental Sanitation 6, 279-286.

Nkurunziza T, Nduwayezu JB, Banadda EN, Nhapi I. 2009. The effect of turbidity levels and Moringa oliefera concentration on the effectiveness of coagulation in water treatment. Water Science and Technology 59(8), 1551-1558.

Okuda T, Baes AU, Nishijima W, Okada M. 2001. Isolation and characterization of coagulant extracted from Moringa oleifera seed by salt solution. Water Research 35(2), 405–410.

Oluduro OA, Aderiye BI, Connolly JD, Akintayo ET, Famurewa O. 2010. Characterization and antimicrobial activity of 4-(ß-d-glucopyranosyl- 4-a-l rhamnopyranosyloxy)-benzyl thiocarboxamide; a novel bioactive compound from Moringa oleifera seed extract. Folia Microbiology 55(5), 422-426.

Ozacar M, Ayhan SI. 2002. The use of tannins from Turkish acorns (Valonia) in water treatment as a Coagulant and Coagulant Aid. Turkish Journal of Engineering and Environmental Science 26, 255-263.

Patale V, Pandya J. 2012. Mucilage extract of Coccinia indica fruit as coagulant-flocculent for turbid water treatment. Asian Journal of Plant Science and Research 2(4), 442-445.

Pritchard M, Mkandawire T, Edmondson A, O’Neill JG, Kululanga G. 2009. Potential of using plant extracts for purification of shallow well water in Malawi. Journal of Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 34, 799-805.

Qureshi K, Bhatti I, Shaikh MS. 2011. Development of Bio-coagulant from pit for the purification of turbid water. Sindh University Research Journal (Science Series) 43(1), 105-110.

Ramamurthy C, Maheswari MU, Selvaganabathy N, Kumar SM, Sujatha V, Thirunavukkarasu C. 2012. Evaluation of eco-friendly coagulant from Trigonella foenum- graecum seed. Advances in Biological Chemistry 2, 58-63.

Renuka MS, Binayke A, Jadhav MV. 2013. Application of natural coagulants in water purification. International Journal of Advanced Technology in Civil Engineering 2(1), 118-123.

Robert L, Matthews, Michael R, Templeton, Sabtri K, Tripath, Kiran B. 2009. Disinfection of waterborne coliform bacteria by Neem oil. Environmental Engineering Science 26, 1435-1441.

Sarah MM, Ezekiel JF, Vinka, Oyanedel C, James AS, Julie BZ. 2008. Toward understanding the efficacy and mechanism of Opuntia spp. as a natural coagulant for potential application in Water treatment. Environmental Science and Technology 42,4274–4279.

Sarpong G, Richardson CP. 2010. Coagulation efficiency of Moringa oleifera for removal of turbidity and reduction of total coliform as compared to aluminum sulfate. African Journal of Agricultural Research 5(21), 2939-2944.

Sciban M, Mirjana GA, Mile TK. 2006. Extraction and partial purification of coagulation active components from common bean seeds. Acta Periodica Technologica 37, 37-43.

Sciban M, Mile K, Mirjana A, Biljana S. 2009. Removal of water turbidity by natural coagulants obtained from chestnut and acorn. Bioresource Technology 100, 6639–6643.

Shilpa BS, Akanksha, Kavita, Girish P. 2012. Evaluation of Cactus and Hyacinth Bean peels as natural coagulants. International Journal of Chemical and Environmental Engineering 3(3), 187-191.

Sofowora A. 1982. Medicinal Plants and Traditional Medicine in Africa. 256 p, John Wiley and Sons, Ltd. New York.

Sotheeswaran S, Nand V, Matakite M, Kanayathu K. 2011. Moringa oleifera and other local seeds in water purification in developing countries. Research Journal of Chemistry and Environment 15(2), 135-138.

Sowmeyan R, Santhosh J, Latha R. 2011. Effectiveness of herbs in community water treatment. International Research Journal of Biochemistry and Bioinformatics 1(11), 297-303.

Sunil BS, Nitin WI, Shrikant SP. 2011. Performance evaluation of natural herbs for antibacterial activity in water purification. International Journal of Engineering Science and Technology 3(9), 7170-7174.

UNICEF/WHO. 2012. Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation Estimates for the use of Improved Drinking-Water Sources Ethiopia. wssinfo. org, 13PP.

Vara S. 2012. Screening and evaluation of innate coagulants for water treatment: a sustainable approach. International Journal of Energy and Environmental Engineering 3, 29.

WHO. (World Health Organization). 2006. Guidelines  for  Drinking  Water  Quality,  First Addendum to Third Edition Recommendations 1. (Accessed 22.02.12).

WHO. (World Health Organization) 2007a. The World Health Report – a Safer Future: Global Public Health Security in the 21st Century, Geneva.

WHO. (World Health Organization) 2007b. Combating waterborne diseases at the household level. Geneva.

WHO. (World Health Organization) 2008. Safer water, better health: costs, benefits and sustainability of interventions to protect and promote health, Geneva.

WHO. (World Health Organization) 2011. Evaluating household water treatment options: Health-based targets and microbiological performance specifications, Geneva.

Yahya DS, Enemaduku AM, Eru EO. 2011. The use of Moringa seed extract in water purification. International Journal of Research and Ayurveda Pharmacy 2(4), 1265-1271.

Yongabi KA. 2010. Biocoagulants for water and waste water purification: a review. International Review of Chemical Engineering 2, 444-458.

Yongabi KA, Lewis DM, Harris PL. 2011a. Application of phytodisinfectants in water purification in rural Cameroon. African Journal of Microbiological Research 5(6), 628-635.

Yongabi KA, Lewis DM, Harris PL. 2011b. Indigenous plant based coagulants/disinfectants and sand filter media for surface water treatment in Bamenda, Cameroon. African Journal of Biotechnology 10(43), 8625-8629.

Zhang J, Fang Z, Yuhong L, Hong Y. 2006. A preliminary study on cactus as coagulant in water treatment. Process Biochemistry 41, 730–733.