Wood water filter described in articles in Annals of Botany blog 24 April 2014, OffGridQuest.com, and PLoS One doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089934, 26 February 2014. Engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found a way to produce clean drinking water using conifer wood. Water flows though woody tissue in plants via channels called xylem. These channels have tiny pores, named pit membranes, in their sides to enable water to flow from one xylem vessel to an adjoining one. This process traps out any fine bubbles in the water and prevents airlocks from blocking up the internal plumbing. The MIT noted that the pit membranes of conifers were the right size to filter out bacteria, and therefore could be used to purify contaminated water if enough water could be made to flow through them.
To test the water purifying potential of xylem, scientists took segments of sapwood from conifers, peeled off the bark and mounted them in the ends of plastic tubes, sealing the join with epoxy glue. They then poured water containing E. coli bacteria (a common water contaminant) into the tube. The wood filtered out the bacteria leaving clean water. After measuring the flow rate of cleaned up water from the wood filter they concluded: “Approximately 3 cubic cm of sapwood can filter water at the rate of several litres per day, sufficient to meet the clean drinking water needs of one person. The results demonstrate the potential of plant xylem to address the need for pathogen-free drinking water in developing countries and resource-limited settings”.
Editorail Comment: It seems no matter what we come up with, God has already done it, one better. As the Bible says, “There is nothing new under the sun”. If this method is developed into an effective means of providing clean drinking water, we hope those who design it, and those who use it, will give thanks and praise to the Creator Christ who made it possible. (Ref. gymnosperms, tracheids, filtration)
Evidence News vol. 14 No. 15
3 September 2014
Creation Research Australia