Disasters in the Gulf of Mexico, BP oil spill and so on, we all know how dangerous they are to the biodiversity and that water contamination is irreversible. But a tiny organism is capable of cleaning oil spills, scientists reveal. A cactus is the key to cleaning up after natural catastrophes and especially oil spills.
Dr. Alcantar of the University of South Florida has been testing prickly pear cactus’s properties for years. The latter is actually a cooking staple in Mexico.
But Dr. Alcantar has found another use of the cactus plant. She used it to clean oil spills in her laboratory. Back in time, her grandmother from Mexico would boil prickly pear cactus and use the potion to clean water before drinking it. River water was made potable without the use of dangerous chemicals.
This old trick can turn to be life-saving. Dr. Alcantar reveals the procedure of cleaning oil spills but starting from an easy experiment in your kitchen.
A prickly pear cactus is cleaned from thorns and then washed and boiled in water. The solution derived is so pure that can make the unwanted debris get at the bottom of the pot and above is pure clean water suitable for drinking.
Dirty water mixed with the cactus solution is purified quickly. Organic solvents act slowly compared to the cactus extract that simply accelerates the process.
The prickly pear cactus is edible, its mucilage is used for many Mexican dishes. It is safer than other solvents and way better in cleaning water.