Stephanie Velegol and Manish Kumar

Using Moringa oleifera seeds to sustainably produce clean drinking water

Our research has focused on using the seeds from the Moringa oleifera tree to create an innovating and sustainable water treatment technique for the developing world.  This tree grows in equatorial regions of the world where clean water is lacking.  The seeds contain a cationic antimicrobial peptide that will adsorb preferentially to sand, creating “sticky killer” sand.  We have recently found that once this sand is packed into a column, it is capable of removing 99.9 – 99.99% of model pathogenic contaminants (compared to 12% removal from a bare sand column).  These model pathogens have the same size and surface charge as bacteria and we can model this removal using known models.  Over the summer we would like a student to continue this work by testing the removal of actual bacteria.  This student would be working in both Dr. Velegol and Dr. Kumar’s labs along with a graduate student and a number of undergraduate students.  More information can be found at

Faculty Research Links

Contact Information

Manish Kumar, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering
REU Program Coordinator

Esther Gomez, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering
REU Program Coordinator

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