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Safe Water for Sri Lanka

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Project Description

Freshwater is usually available in Sri Lanka, however around 50% of the country depends on single-household dug wells. Despite preconceptions that there is a low risk of contamination in well water, we have recently found the presence of cyanobacteria cells and potent cyanotoxins, microcystins and cylindrospermopsin at unsafe levels throughout the year.

These toxins can lead to serious and chronic illness, but we have shown it is possible to biodegrade these using microbes. We will develop a nature- based water treatment solution by enriching degradative and cyanolytic potential in a microbiome localised on biochar prepared from locally sourced biogenic waste. This will allow us to develop a low cost reliable water treatment module that can be lowered into dug wells, degrading dissolved toxin and reducing regrowth by limiting light levels.

In collaboration and partnership with University of Sri Jayewardenepura, University of Edinburgh, University of Peradeniya, Queen’s University Belfast

Status Project Live
Funder(s) Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council
Value £623,878.00
Project Dates Jan 31, 2019 - Mar 31, 2022

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