HARTFORD, Conn. (CBS Hartford) – A scientist has discovered a way to create clean drinking water using wood.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientist Rohit Karnik  began to use the xylem tissue in plants for water filtration.  Xylem is a key component apart of plants that transports water in the form of sap from the roots to the leaves.

In conducting the research, Karnik strained water through the sapwood of a pine branch to filter out microscopic air bubbles since the branch’s vascular system contains membranes for the task, NPR reported.

“The xylem has membranes with pores and other mechanisms by which bubbles are prevented from easily spreading and flowing in the xylem tissue,” Karnik said to NPR.  “We also flowed in bacteria and showed we could filter out bacteria using the xylem.”

Karnik estimates the xylem removed 99.9 percent of the bacteria, making the water drinkable and creating a cost effective water filter.

The scientist plans on continuing “to work out the technical  hurdles to scaling up his system,” NPR reported.

Karnik’s research was published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE.


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