Moss pollen can purify water from toxic substances

Water can be “easily” purified with pollen, without resorting to chemical additives or alcohol: this is the result that a team of researchers had to present their efforts to the American Chemical Society (ACS) Autumn 2019.

According to the researchers, these small, natural, abundant and naturally renewable granules can be converted into small particles such as sponges. Pollen can “cling” to the polluting particles and remove them from the water. The main advantage is that these are not substances that can cause allergies, because there are several compounds that can be used to purify wastewater.

In addition, this method makes it possible to purify the wastewater from those toxic elements that can escape the normal cleaning processes put in place by the plants, as Andrew Boa notes, one of the researchers is working on this project: “Even very low levels of certain compounds, such as hormones, medicines or home and personal care products, can cause toxic effects. However, they can often escape normal cleaning processes in wastewater treatment plants. We are trying to find alternative ways to remove these chemicals from the water, so that we can reduce the amount of chemicals that end up in the environment.”

The spores used in the experiments are extracted from Lycopodium clavatum, a common moss. Boa, together with colleagues, has discovered that some chemicals can be absorbed or microscopic granules that form the spores of this moss can be attached to the surface of the empty shells. The same team realized then that this viscosity can be used to capture contaminants in water.

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Martin Hill

An accomplished journalist and freelancer, Martin has held a long career in media and has worked for numerous different agencies. He was an editor for the Arizona Business Gazette for over 10 years before joining the Tucson Weekly ( and founding Home of Science, a new publication with the aim of reporting on science news over the internet. Beyond having extensive writing and research experience, Martin is also a science enthusiast with a passion for science and technology. In his younger life, he had studied mechanical engineering before moving on to journalism.
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Martin Hill