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Magic moss fixes contaminated water


Keeping arsenic out of the food we eat and water we drink sounds like a pretty good idea.

And researchers at Stockholm University have discovered a moss, called Warnstofia fluitans, that can quickly remove arsenic from water systems.


“Our experiments show that the moss has a very high capacity to remove arsenic. It takes no more than an hour to remove 80% of the arsenic from a container of water. By then, the water has reached such a low level of arsenic that it is no longer harmful to people,” explained research assistant Arifin Sandhi, who has conducted the experiments.


Growing the aquatic moss in streams could be one method used to put it into action. And it could provide a solution to contamination problems in some parts of Sweden caused by mining; an issue that can affect drinking water as well as foods, with plants absorbing the arsenic.

“Our aim is that the plant-based wetland system we are developing will filter out the arsenic before the water becomes drinking water and irrigation water. That way, the arsenic will not make it into our food,” added says Maria Greger, associate professor at the Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.

The study was published in Environmental Pollution.

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