Local algae could address Bangladesh’s water crisis


In Bangladesh, scientists from Dhaka University and Sweden’s Uppsala University are using local microalgae to generate clean water.

Pithophora—locally known as Shewla—removes cellulose nanofibers from water, which can then be used to produce paper that can be used as a water filter.

“Pithophora algae have been largely overlooked in the past as a valuable raw material,” Albert Mihranyan, Professor of Nanotechnology at Uppsala University, tells SciTech Europa. “It is with great satisfaction that we can now document excellent pathogen removal clearance for both water-borne bacteria and viruses with efficiency above 99.999 percent. It can purify even the smallest virus particles of 27-28 nanometers.”

Khondkar Siddique-e-Rabbani, an Honorary Professor at University of Dhaka, says access to clean water will improve health and reduce poverty in the densely populated country. “We are optimistic that through future development of devices the filter paper produced from the locally growing algae will be useful to prevent potentially deadly water-borne diseases and improve the quality of life for millions of people.”