Journal of Applied & Environmental Microbiology
ISSN (Print): 2373-6747 ISSN (Online): 2373-6712 Website: Editor-in-chief: Sankar Narayan Sinha
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Journal of Applied & Environmental Microbiology. 2016, 4(4), 70-74
DOI: 10.12691/jaem-4-4-1
Open AccessArticle

Re-purposing an Invasive Species: The Use of the Xylem Tissue of Pinus taeda as a Point-of-Use Filter of Waterborne Pathogens

Ranjan Pati1,

1Biotechnology High School, 5000 Kozloski Road, Freehold, NJ

Pub. Date: July 02, 2016

Cite this paper:
Ranjan Pati. Re-purposing an Invasive Species: The Use of the Xylem Tissue of Pinus taeda as a Point-of-Use Filter of Waterborne Pathogens. Journal of Applied & Environmental Microbiology. 2016; 4(4):70-74. doi: 10.12691/jaem-4-4-1


3.4 million people, mostly children under the age of 5, die every year from waterborne diseases. The most common waterborne diseases are caused by bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, and Vibrio cholerae. Common technologies to filter out or kill waterborne bacteria are costly in terms of money, resources, and time, which limit their implementation in developing countries. A potential filter of waterborne bacteria exists in the form of plant xylem, the porous material that conducts fluid in plants. The xylem tissue of gymnosperms has evolved to have pores that are an ideal size for filtering out waterborne pathogens. Gymnosperms, namely Pinus taeda, are invasive in several developing countries and have resulted in a loss of biodiversity and an overall negative effect on agriculture. This raises the interesting question of whether or not the invasive P. taeda can be repurposed to be used as a point-of-use filter of waterborne pathogens. It was predicted before the study began that the difference between the bacterial rejection rate of filters derived from the xylem tissue of Pinus taeda and those of costly methods of filtration such as boiling and membrane-based filtration would not be statistically significant. This study found that the P. taeda filter rejected 95% and 96% of inactivated Escherichia coli. The difference between the performance of the P. taeda filter and common methods of filtration was not statistically significant. This study concludes that filters derived from P. taeda can solve current global problems.

water sustainability waterborne diseases xylem point-of-use filtration waterborne pathogens

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