Welcome to my "all things plants" blog. These are my own personal observations, thoughts, and things I've found beneficial to me. Please comment and contribute.

“To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.” -Gandhi

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Prickly Pear used to filter water

I read this article and thought "WOW" but one must realize that while it seems to work on sediment and Bacillus cereus, that is only one bacteria AND the study does not state whether it works with Gardia. However, you do still need to boil the water....so.....

Cactus Gum Purifies Water Cheaply and Effectively

Counterintuitive as it may seem, cacti might be the key to cheap and easy water purification. Assistant Professor Norma Alcantar at the University of South Florida in Tampa has discovered that when mucilage (a type of gum used to store water) from the prickly pear cactus is mixed with water that contains high levels of sediment or the bacterium Bacillus cereus, both the bacteria and the sediment sink to the bottom. The mucilage, in other words, acts as a cheap and effective natural filter, which could be employed by millions of people in developing nations to produce clean water.

The discovery means that residents of the developing world could potentially boil cactus and add it to water that needs to be purified. Of course, it will be difficult for cactus users to gauge how much bacteria and sediment has been filtered. And its hard to say how much water and land would be necessary to grow cacti for widespread water purification. But we love the idea of being able to swap out the Brita for a cactus.


  1. I saw the same article and was intrigued as well! I have prickly pear cactus growing in my yard and it grows all over the local area. I may try a few experiments and see what happens!

  2. let me know how it goes. One of the professors works with prickly pear but I cannot snag any, lol! he infects them with disease and insects. thanks for stopping by!


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