Moringa Seed Description

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Source: Anthony Simons, ICRAF

Description
Moringa oleifera is a vegetable tree which is grown in Africa, Central and South America, the Indian subcontinent, and South East Asia. It could be considered to be one of the world's most useful trees, not only is it drought resistant, it also yields cooking and lighting oil, soil fertilizer, as well as highly nutritious food in the form of its pods, leaves, seeds and flowers. Perhaps most importantly, its seeds can be used to purify drinking water at virtually no cost.



Moringa tree seeds, when crushed into powder, can be used as a water-soluble extract in suspension, resulting in an effective natural clarification agent for highly turbid and untreated pathogenic surface water. As well as improving drinkability, this technique reduces water turbidity (cloudiness) making the result aesthetically as well as microbiologically more acceptable for human consumption.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Advantages
  • Moringa oleifera trees are hardy and drought-resistant, fast-growing, and a source of large numbers of seeds.
  • Moringa oleifera seeds are nontoxic and effective coagulants useful for removing turbidity and bacteria from water.
  • The cost of seed treatment is very low, in most cases negligible.
Drawbacks
  • Plant seeds may not be readily available.
Comment
Moringa treatment does not remove 100% of water pathogens. It is acceptable for drinking only where people are currently drinking untreated, contaminated water.

Costs

The main cost appears to be the labor (sweat equity) in acquiring the plant seeds.

Resources