Researchers from Stockholm University have discovered that aquatic moss (Warnstorfia fluitans) can remove arsenic from water.
The experiment showed that in in just one hour, the contaminated water was clean enough to drink.
The moss grows in northern Sweden, also the home to mining areas often contaminated with arsenic. The hope is that the moss could be grown in rivers and streams to clean the water in these mining areas.
Although arsenic has been banned in a number of products, in Sweden, it still reaches ground and water systems from mining because the bedrock in certain areas naturally contains it. This results in contaminated drinking water and water used for irrigating crops. Plants absorb the arsenic in the soil which then ends up in the food system. In Sweden, root vegetables, leafy green and wheat are found with arsenic traces, in other countries rice is often contaminted.
The key findings of the study:+
* Warnstorfia fluitans removed up to 82% arsenic from water within an hour.
* Arsenic removal rate was highest at 1 μM As (arsenic) and no nutrients in the water.
* Warnstorfia fluitans removes both arsenite and arsenate from water.
* Most accumulated arsenic species were bounded in moss biomass tissue.
* Both dead and living moss can reduce arsenic from water.
This is just another example of how amazing the natural world is.