EFFICIENCY OF MAERUA SUBCORDATA ROOT POWDER IN FLUORIDES AND MICROBES REMOVAL FROM WATER: A CASE STUDY OF THIKA AREA- UPPER TANA BASIN
No Thumbnail Available
It is common in Kenya to see people with brown teeth. This could be attributed partly to high concentrations of fluoride in the water that they drink. Apart from fluoride causing browning of teeth - a condition referred to as dental fluorosis - which is cosmetically injurious, it also causes skeletal fluorosis at concentrations greater than 6 mgL–1 per day. For this reason, it is recommended that drinking water should have fluoride at concentrations not exceeding 1.5 mgL–1. However, ground water used for drinking in Thika contains fluoride at concentrations that exceed the recommended amount. This therefore compelled the removal of the excess fluoride from water. In addition, microbial contamination of water sources by feacal coliforms from human beings and animals is rampant. Hence, the levels of fluoride and microbes in selected groundwater sources in Thika area were determined. Additionally, the efficiency of fluoride removal from the water by M. subcordata and its antimicrobial activity was also evaluated. Measurements of fluoride were done using a Fluoride meter and a UV/VIS Spectrophotometer. This study determined that some groundwater of the environs of Thika area contained high concentrations of fluorides of up to 4.38 mgL–1. From the fluoride measurements, sample water from three boreholes - Umma University borehole, Kimichu Borehole, and Kimichu Small- had water which contained fluoride concentrations higher than those recommended by the WHO (1.5 mgL–1). Kimichu borehole had the highest concentration of fluoride ions at 4.28 mgL–1. When all the samples were treated with M. subcordata root powder, the level of fluoride ion concentration reduced considerably. Kimichu Small borehole fluoride concentration reduced to a concentration of 1.33 mgL–1, a value that is within the allowable KEBS standard of 1.5 mgL–1. M. subcordata root powder was successful in reducing the concentration of fluoride to up to 48% for 5 g/50 mL of water. Analysis for presence of microbes using most probable number method showed all but one of the boreholes water samples were devoid of total coliforms. The root powder extract prepared by adding 20 g of the powder to 100 mL of distilled water and tested at varied doses was however found to lack antimicrobial activity. This study recommends determination of fluoride concentration in all groundwater sources found in Thika area and efforts made to reduce the concentration of the fluoride in the water by using economically viable, effective and environmentally friendly methods. In addition, characterization of M. subcordata should be conducted and the mechanism of fluoride removal determined.