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Defluoridation of water using basil leaves and its stem

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  • Sardar Patel College, Chandrapur

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Defluoridation of water was carried out by adsorption using Basil (Ocimum sanctum, Lamiaceae) leaves, stem and extract of fresh leaves at various doses and pH levels by boiling and shaking methods as a bioadsorbent. With initial fluoride concentration of 5 ppm, it was observed that maximum 94% of fluoride can be removed at a dose of 75 mg of fresh basil leaves for a sample of 100 mL at pH of 9.0 for a contact period of 20 min, fresh basil stem with a dose of 100 mg/100 mL had a removal efficiency of 75% at pH 6, whereas for dry leaves and dry stem at a dose of 250 mg/100 mL, the removal efficiency was 78% and 74% at pH of 6 and 7, respectively. This makes the fluoride concentration within the permissible limit of Indian standard for drinking water (IS 10500:1991, fluoride 1.0-1.5 ppm). The efficiency of adsorption of fluoride ion was affected by pH, adsorbent dose, type and size of adsorbent used. This developed technique is cost effective, environment friendly and most important easy to understand and can be adopted in rural as well as urban background throughout the year.
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1
Defluoridation of water using Basil (Ocimum sanctum Linn.) leaves
and its stem
Renuka D. Amgaokar and R. K. Kamble
Sardar Patel Mahavidyalaya, Department of Environmental Science,
Ganj Ward, Chandrapur-442 402
ABSTRACT
Defluoridation of water was carried out by adsorption using Basil (Ocimum sanctum, Lamiaceae)
leaves, stem and extract of fresh leaves at various doses and pH levels by boiling and shaking
methods as a bioadsorbent. With initial fluoride concentration of 5 ppm, it was observed that
maximum 94 % of fluoride can be removed at a dose of 75 mg of fresh basil leaves for a sample
of 100 ml at pH of 9.0 for a contact period of 20 min, fresh basil stem with a dose of 100 mg/100
ml had a removal efficiency of 75 % at pH 6, whereas for dry leaves and dry stem at a dose of
250 mg/100 ml, the removal efficiency was 78 % and 74 % at pH of 6 and 7, respectively. This
makes the fluoride concentration within the permissible limit of Indian Standard for drinking
water (IS 10500:1991, Fluoride 1.0-1.5 ppm). The efficiency of adsorption of fluoride ion was
affected by pH, adsorbent dose, type and size of adsorbent used. This developed technique is cost
effective, environment friendly and most important easy to understand and can be adopted in
rural as well as urban background throughout the year.
KEYWORD
Defluoridation, Fluorosis, Bioadsorbent, Basil, Tulsi, Ocimum sanctum, Lamiaceae
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INTRODUCTION
Next to air, the other important requirement for human life to exist is water. Water is essential
for human being, which keeps life going. It is the nature’s gift to human race. It is available in
various forms such as rivers, lakes, streams and groundwater. A human body contains about 70
% of water. The consumption of water by a human being is required for various physiological
process such as blood formation, food assimilation etc. The quantity of water which a man would
require for drinking depends on various factors. But, on an average and under normal conditions
it is about 2 to 2.5 L/day. Though groundwater contains fewer impurities, the presence of
fluoride with concentration > 1.5 ppm will cause health hazard, regular consumption of this will
cause dental fluorosis, skeletal fluorosis etc.
High groundwater fluoride concentration was found in many parts of developing countries and
fluorosis is endemic in at least 25 countries across the globe (Tetsuji et al., 1997). In India,
people of 196 districts of 19 states are drinking fluoride contaminated water above maximum
allowed concentration (MAC) of 1.5 ppm (Goswami et al., 2004). In India, the problem of
excess fluorosis content is prevailing fastly. In early 30’s, when fluorosis was first detected,
fluoridated water was a great problem in just four states Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar
Pradesh and Punjab. In 1986, when Technology Mission on Drinking Water began its operation,
fluorosis was found in 13 states in which Kerala, Jammu & Kashmir have also been identified as
endemic for the disease. Out of this Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and
Tamil Nadu are the worst affected states (Jain et al., 1999).
Concentration of fluoride in drinking water in different parts of India varies between 0.5 to 50
ppm. Out of 6 lakh villages in India, at least 50 % have fluoride content in drinking water
exceeding 1.0 ppm (Gupta, 1995). An extensive survey of community water supply shows that
25 million people in 8700 villages are drinking water with fluoride concentration > 1.5 ppm.
Above one million people in India are affected with skeletal fluorosis and exposed to risk of
developing skeletal fluorosis. The Geological Survey of India has brought out considerable data
which revealed that fluorite, topaz, appetite, rock phosphate; phosphatic nodules and
phospharites are wide spread in India and contain high percentage of fluoride. In India, nearly
22,400 villages with approximately 6 million people appear to be exposed to high fluoride
3
containing water. Presently fluorosis is prevalent in 17 states of India (Meenakshi and
Maheshwari, 2006).
Fluoride ingested through water is considered as the principle cause of fluorosis in fluorosis
endemic areas (Somvanshi et al., 1990) despite the fact that in many areas fluoride ingested
through food is also known to be critically high. The amount of water ingested varies widely
with age and body weight of an individual, climatic conditions, muscular activity, dietary habits
and socio-economic conditions. Therefore, even in non-endemic areas, the average fluoride
ingested through drinking water vary widely with climatic conditions. In subtropical countries,
where fluorosis is more prevalent, average drinking water consumption ranges from 4-6
L/adult/day and the lower and upper limit of fluoride is 0.35 ppm and 0.8 ppm, respectively.
The presence of fluoride in water provides a substantial reduction in dental caries of human
being, but if the concentration exceeds 1.5 ppm, it causes several adverse effects like mottling of
teeth called dental fluorosis, skeletal fluorosis, crippling fluorosis, osteoporosis etc.
Different methods have been developed to remove excess fluoride concentration from water.
These methods are based on the principle of adsorption, ion exchange, precipitation,
electrodialysis and reverse osmosis. Adsorption method involves use of activated alumina, fly
ash, lanthanum impregnated silica gel, activated carbon etc. Nawlakhe et al (1974) stated
addition of aluminum salt as aluminum sulphate or aluminum chloride or combination of both as
a defluoriding agent with the dose of aluminum salt to increase with increases in fluoride
concentration and alkalinity of the raw water. Residual fluoride concentration in treated water as
low as 0.2 ppm can be achieved with increasing alum dose at corresponding alkalinity. The
sorption behavior of fluoride on synthetic hydrous zirconium oxide (HZO) was investigated by
Goswami et al (2004). It was observed that fluoride sorption onto the adsorbent was highly pH
dependent. Results showed that fluoride sorption was rapid and equilibrium reaches within an
hour. The optimum pH for fluoride sorption was found to be 4.0. The highest sorption capacity
(determined from 2500 mg/L of fluoride) was 66.0 mg/g. Rui et al (2010) used modified
montmorillonite KSF as an adsorbent and found that in initial stage of adsorption, the rate was
very quick and adsorption capacity was increased rapidly. Then the adsorption rate reduced
gradually. The adsorption equilibrium can be achieved after 3 hours. By using different
bioadsorbents fluoride ion in the effluent can be gradually decreased to 1 ppm, from initial
concentration of 5 ppm, within an hour at room temperature at a dose of 10 g/L (Suganandam et
4
al., 2010). However, these techniques have some or other bottlenecks in their implementation
such as cost, effectiveness, acceptability, adoptability, output etc. To overcome these
bottlenecks, an attempt has been made to find out an efficient method for reduction of excess
fluoride concentration within the permissible limit of Indian Standard for drinking water. The
study was carried out by using basil leaves, stems (fresh and dry) and leaf extract to remove
excess fluoride concentration.
MATERAIL AND METHOD
To execute this study, Basil (Ocimum sanctum, Lamiaceae, var Tulsi) leaves (fresh and dry),
stem (fresh and dry) and fresh leaf extract (10:1, w/v) was used. As this herb is available at every
household and it is easy to identify this was selected for the study. The herb was identified by
Prof V S Shende, Department of Botany, Janta Mahavidyalaya, Chandrapur, Maharashtra.
Sample collection and preparation
1) Fresh basil leaves were selected by cutting them into small portions and by taking
different doses of 25, 50, 75, 100 and 125 mg.
2) Fresh basil stem were selected by taking different doses of 50, 100, 150, 200 and 250 mg.
3) Dry basil leaves and stem were prepared by shed drying fresh leaves and fresh stem for
two days and after that it was used in different doses of 50, 100, 150, 200 and 250 mg.
4) Fresh basil leaves extract was prepared by taking 500 mg of fresh leaves in 50 ml
distilled water (10:1, w/v). It was crushed in a mortar & pestle and supernatant was used.
5) The synthetic fluoride solution was prepared having initial concentration of 5 ppm.
The experimental work was carried out by varying doses and pH levels with boiling on a burner
for 15 min and shaking on a shaker for 20 min. The combination of doses and pH levels were
selected at which maximum fluoride removal was observed.
Dose selection
1) Different doses of fresh basil leaves as 25, 50, 75, 100 and 125 mg were taken in different
beakers and reagent bottles each containing 100 ml synthetic fluoride solution having
concentration of 5 ppm. Beakers containing different doses were kept for boiling on a
burner for 15 min and reagent bottles for shaking on shaker for 20 min.
5
2) After boiling and shaking, experimental solutions were filtered through Whatman filter
paper and 50 ml of filtrate was taken and to it 10 ml of zirconyl acid-SPANDS reagent was
added and absorbance was measured on spectrophotometer (model no. EQ 820) at 570 nm.
3) The pH of each experimental solution was measured after the treatment with the help of pH
meter.
4) The above mentioned procedure (at point no. 1) was repeated for different materials such as
dry leaves, dry stem and fresh stem by adding 50, 100, 150, 200 and 250 mg of doses.
5) The similar procedure was adopted for fresh leaves extract (10:1, w/v) by adding 1, 2, 3, 4
and 5 ml of extract in each 100 ml of synthetic sample (initial concentration 5 ppm) by
shaking and boiling methods. After cooling, the solution was filtered through Whatman
filter paper and 50 ml of filtrate was taken and to it 10 ml of zirconyl acid-SPANDS
reagent was added and absorbance was measured.
6) The pH of each solution was measured after the treatment with the help of pH meter.
pH selection
1) The pH of the synthetic fluoride samples was maintained at different pH levels as 6, 7,
8, and 9.
2) The optimum dose of basil leaves and stem (fresh as well as dry) was selected at which
maximum fluoride removal was obtained.
3) By adding the constant dose of fresh as well as dry basil leaves and stem at different pH
levels 6, 7, 8 and 9 procedure was carried out for both boiling and shaking for 15 min
and 20 min, respectively.
4) After treatments, solution was filtered through Whatman filter paper and 50 ml of filtrate
was taken and to it 10 ml of zirconyl acid-SPANDS reagent was added and absorbance
was measured at 570 nm.
5) pH of the sample was again measured with the help of pH meter.
Optimisation of dose and pH
1) The optimum dose and pH was selected at which maximum fluoride removal was
obtained.
2) For fresh leaves 75 mg was selected with pH 9 for boiling and shaking.
6
3) For dry leaves 250 mg was selected with pH 6 for boiling and shaking.
4) For fresh stem and dry stem 100 mg and 200 mg, was taken with pH 6 and 7
respectively, for boiling and shaking.
5) The absorbance was measured by spectrophotometer and pH was measured
RESULT AND DISCUSSION
 The experimental results are depicted in table 1 and 2. As shown in table 1, after treatment
of fresh basil leaves at a dose of 25, 50 and 75 mg with initial fluoride concentration of 5
ppm; it was reduced to < 0.6 ppm by both boiling and shaking methods. The resulting
solution became slightly greenish in colour due to increase in doses of material with a
pleasant odour. However, at higher doses of fresh basil leaves of 100 and 125 mg/100 ml,
the resulting fluoride concentration was below detectable limit. This indicates complete
removal of fluoride from the solution.
 By treatment with fresh basil stem (all doses), fluoride concentration was reduced to < 0.5
ppm by both boiling and shaking methods. It was observed that the resulting solution
became slightly green in colour after boiling with slight change in odour at higher doses of
150, 200 and 250 mg; however, there was no change in colour and odour after shaking and
boiling at lower concentration of 50 and 100 mg/100 ml.
 By treatment with dry basil leaves (150 mg/100 ml), fluoride concentration was reduced to
1.39 and 1.18 ppm by boiling and shaking methods. Resulting solution had no change in
colour however, slight change in odour was observed after boiling.
 By treatment with dry basil stem at dose of 100 mg/100 ml and 250 mg/100 ml, fluoride
concentration was reduced to < 1.5 ppm. The colour of the resulting solution became pale
yellow and slight change in odour was observed after boiling however, no change was
observed after shaking.
By treatment with fresh basil leaf extract (10:1, w/v) at doses of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 ml/100 ml,
the fluoride concentration was reduced to < 1.5 ppm. The colour of sample after treatment
was greenish with a pleasant odour.
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At selected dose of 75 mg of fresh basil leaves with variable pH levels of 6, 7, 8 and 9
maximum fluoride removal was observed at pH 9 and fluoride concentration remaining
was 0.18 and 0.12 ppm after boiling and shaking, respectively (Table 2).
Whereas at dose of 100 mg of fresh basil stem with variable pH levels of 6, 7, 8 and 9,
maximum fluoride removal was observed at pH 6 and fluoride concentration remaining
was 1.29 and 1.39 ppm after boiling and shaking, respectively.
In case of dry basil leaves and stem at dose of 100 mg/100 ml, maximum fluoride removal
was observed at pH 6 and 7, respectively, and the resulting fluoride concentration was 1.19
and 1.22 ppm and 1.42 and 1.42 ppm after boiling and shaking, respectively.
At selected does of basil leaves and stem (fresh and dry) and pH levels, the results are depicted
in table 3.
  dose of 75 mg fresh basil leaves had removed 94 % of fluoride and pH was changed
from 9 to 5.94.
 dose of 100 mg of fresh basil stem had removed 75 % fluoride and pH was changed from
6 to 5.49.
 dose of 250 mg dry basil leaves had removed 78 % fluoride and pH was changed from 6
to 5.72.
 dose of 250 mg dry basil stem had removed 74 % fluoride and pH was changed from 7 to
5.17.
 dose of fresh leaves extract (2 ml) had removed 68 % of fluoride and pH was changed
from 7 to 5.89.
CONCLUSION
From the results of the study it can be concluded that basil leaves and stem (fresh and dry) can be
used as defluoridating agent. Averagely, this method removes about 80 % of fluoride from
synthetic solution. Hence, people living in fluorosis endemic areas can use basil leaves and its
stem as a defluoridating agent. The resulting concentration of fluoride after treatments comes
within the permissible limit of Indian Standard for drinking water (IS 10500:1991, Fluoride 1.0-
8
1.5 ppm) and thereby fluorosis and other adverse health effects of fluoride on human being can
be minimized. This developed technique is easy to understand and less expensive, maintenance
free and tulsi herb is available at every household hence it has a potential to be adopted
throughout India as a bioadsorbent to remove excess fluoride concentration from drinking water.
In case of non-availability of this herb, its leaves and stem can be preserved by shed drying and
can be used. The material used in this study is decomposable and causes no pollution after its
use. There were no significant physical changes in solution after treatments with basil leaves and
stem so, the water can be used for potable purpose without any treatment further. The efficiency
of material to remove fluoride is high; hence, the material required will be less, so this technique
is cost effective. Boiling and shaking methods are easy steps to adopt at household level hence;
the adaptability of this technique will be quite high as compared to other developed technique.
Any method from boiling or shaking can be adopted for fluoride removal from water depending
upon the conditions. By adopting these methods the goal of reduction of adverse health effects of
fluoride in fluorosis endemic area can be minimized to a significant extent.
AUTHOR
1. Miss. Renuka D. Amgaokar, Post-graduate student, Department of Environmental
Science, Sardar Patel Mahavidyalaya, Ganj Ward, Chandrapur-442 402.
2*. Mr. R. K. Kamble, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Science, Sardar
Patel Mahavidyalaya, Ganj Ward, Chandrapur-442 402.
REFERENCE
APHA. 1998. Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater (20th edn). APHA,
AWWA, WPCF, Washington D.C.
Goswami, S., et al. 2004. Studies on removal of fluoride by hydrated zirconium oxide (HZO).
Chem. Env. Res., 13 (1-2): 117-126
Gupta, I. 1995. Drinking water and fluoride in Doda. National Seminar on Water for life.
Jammu.
Jain, C.K., et al. 1999. Fluoride contamination in groundwater- India scenario. Indian J. Env.
Prot., 19 (4): 260-266.
Meenakshi and R.C. Maheshwari. 2006. Fluoride in drinking water and its removal. J. Haz. Mat.,
137(1): 456-463.
Nawlakhe, W.G., et al. 1974. Defluoridation of water with alum. Indian J. Env. Health. 16, A-F
9
Rui, S. and W. Feng. 2010. Defluoridation of water with modified montmorillonite KSF as
adsorbent. Res. J. Chem. Env., 14 (4): 49-51.
Somvanshi, P.R., et al. 1990. Fluorosis in Maharashtra. Assoc. Physicians India. 38(3): 217-219
Suganandam, K., et al. 2010. Defluoridation of water using bioadsobents. Poll. Res. 29 (4): 707-
711.
Tetsuji, C., et al. 1997. An ecotechnological removal system for fluoride in water using activated
alumina. In Proce. of the 4th Asian symposium on ecotechnology.
Table 1. Optimisation of dose
Material
Dose of
material,
mg
Synthetic
fluoride
sample, ml
Initial
fluoride
concentration,
ppm
Fluoride
concentration after
treatment, ppm
Changes after
treatment
Boiling
Shaking
Fresh basil
leaves
25
100
5
0.6
0.42
No change in
colour and odour
50
100
5
0.52
0.52
No change in
colour but slight
change in odour
75
100
5
0.29
0.32
Slight change in
colour and odour
100
100
5
BDL
BDL
Slightly greenish in
colour with odour
125
100
5
BDL
BDL
Slightly greenish in
colour with odour
50
100
5
0.43
0.45
No change in
colour and odour
100
100
5
0.44
0.46
No change in
colour and odour
150
100
5
0.41
0.44
Slightly yellowish
10
Fresh basil
stems
in colour after
boiling with odour
200
100
5
0.42
0.43
Slightly yellowish
in colour after
boiling with odour
250
100
5
0.41
0.44
Slightly yellowish
in colour after
boiling with odour
Dry basil
leaves
50
100
5
1.29
1.29
No change in
colour but slight
change in odour
after boiling
100
100
5
1.29
1.19
No change in
colour but slight
change in odour
after boiling
150
100
5
1.39
1.18
No change in
colour but slight
change in odour
after boiling
200
100
5
1.32
1.2
No change in
colour but slight
change in odour
after boiling
250
100
5
1.22
1.29
No change in
colour but slight
change in odour
after boiling
11
Dry basil
stems
50
100
5
1.56
1.62
Slight yellowish in
colour with odour
after boiling
100
100
5
1.46
1.39
Slight yellowish in
colour with odour
after boiling
150
100
5
1.59
1.42
Slight yellowish in
colour with odour
after boiling
200
100
5
1.59
1.34
Slight yellowish in
colour with odour
after boiling
250
100
5
1.42
1.43
Slight yellowish in
colour with odour
after boiling
Fresh basil
leaves
extract
(10:1,
w/v)
1 ml
100
5
1.5
1.49
Slightly green with
odour
2 ml
100
5
1.41
1.49
Slightly green with
odour
3 ml
100
5
1.41
1.48
Greenish with
odour
4 ml
100
5
1.61
1.48
Greenish with
odour
5 ml
100
5
1.5
1.49
Dark green with
odour
12
Table 2. Optimisation of pH
Material
used
Dose of
material,
mg
Initial
fluoride
concentration,
ppm
Initial pH
of
synthetic
sample
Fluoride
concentration after
treatment, ppm
pH after treatment
Boiling
Shaking
Boiling
Shaking
Fresh
basil
leaves
75
5
6
0.28
0.20
5.68
5.72
5
7
BDL
BDL
5.71
5.69
5
8
BDL
BDL
6.07
5.91
5
9
0.18
0.12
6.03
5.94
Fresh
basil
stems
100
5
6
1.29
1.39
5.42
5.49
5
7
1.42
1.29
5.53
5.56
5
8
1.39
1.39
5.41
5.43
5
9
1.39
1.42
5.70
5.69
Dry basil
leaves
100
5
6
1.19
1.22
5.61
5.67
5
7
1.32
1.29
5.73
5.80
5
8
1.29
1.42
5.89
5.83
5
9
1.28
1.29
5.91
5.86
Dry basil
stems
100
5
6
1.69
1.58
5.68
5.72
5
7
1.42
1.42
5.68
5.74
13
5
8
1.56
1.62
5.71
5.74
5
9
1.62
1.62
5.68
5.81
BDL= below detectable limit
Table 3. Percent fluoride removal at selected dose and pH
Material used
Dose of
material,
mg
pH
pH after
treatment
Initial fluoride
concentration,
ppm
Fluoride
concentration after
treatment, ppm
Fluoride
removal,
percent
Boiling
Shaking
Fresh leaves
75
9
5.94
5
0.24
0.26
94
Fresh stems
100
6
5.49
5
1.28
1.22
75
Dry leaves
250
6
5.72
5
1.22
1.28
78
Dry stems
250
7
5.17
5
1.39
1.32
74
Leaf extract
2 ml
7
5.89
5
1.41
1.49
68
... The efficiency of Tulsi plant in removing fluoride from ground water has been reported in prior studies (Amgaokar & Kamble 2012;Sudheer & Ahmed 2016). The advantage of using leaves of Tulsi (O. ...
... The level of pH at which the water is treated may play a significant role in defluoridation of Tulsi. A study reveals a maximum of removal efficiency (74%) was achieved at a pH of 7 (Amgaokar & Kamble 2012). From this result, Figure 5 illustrates that the maximum removal efficiency was observed at pH of 6.44, which is in line with previous study. ...
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Post-graduate student
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Miss. Renuka D. Amgaokar, Post-graduate student, Department of Environmental Science, Sardar Patel Mahavidyalaya, Ganj Ward, Chandrapur-442 402.
Drinking water and fluoride in Doda. National Seminar on Water for life
  • I Gupta
Gupta, I. 1995. Drinking water and fluoride in Doda. National Seminar on Water for life. Jammu.
Defluoridation of water with alum
  • W G Nawlakhe
Nawlakhe, W.G., et al. 1974. Defluoridation of water with alum. Indian J. Env. Health. 16, A-F
Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater
  • Apha Apha
  • Awwa Wpcf
APHA. 1998. Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater (20th edn). APHA, AWWA, WPCF, Washington D.C.