In this video, the effectiveness of Potable Aqua water purification tablets will be tested. The experiment begins by creating dirty water with leaves and grass, which serve as food for bacteria. Microbes are found everywhere, including the air, so providing food, water, and a place for them to grow is all that is needed.
After about two weeks, the plant material rots and the water becomes cloudy. Microbes of different shapes and sizes can be observed under a microscope, including protozoa and bacteria. Protozoa are larger, animal-like single-celled organisms, while bacteria come in various shapes such as rods, spheres, or spirals.
Ciliates are a diverse group of protozoa found in the water. They have tiny hair-like structures called cilia on their cells, which they use to propel themselves and manipulate the fluid around them. Once the microbes in the water have been identified, the water purification tablets can be tested.
Two types of tablets are included in the product: an iodine-based disinfectant and a tablet to remove the iodine taste and improve flavor. For this experiment, only the disinfectant tablets will be tested as they have antimicrobial effects. The instructions state that two tablets can disinfect one liter of water.
Following the instructions, two tablets are added to one liter of the dirty water. The container is loosely capped to allow for a small amount of leakage. After five minutes, the container is shaken to moisten the screw threads on the closure, and the cap is tightened. It is recommended to wait 30 minutes before drinking the water.
After the recommended waiting time, the water is observed, and it appears unchanged. Microbes are still seen swimming and moving around, indicating that the tablets did not have a significant antimicrobial effect. To further test the water, a sample is plated on a petri dish.
A comparison between the microbes in the dirty water and the water after the tablets were added shows that many bacteria survived the tablets’ disinfection process. This result was unexpected, as previous experiments with boiling water and using a Lifestraw filter had been successful in producing clean water.
Further research reveals that the tablets’ effectiveness is reduced in turbid water, such as the dirty water used in this experiment. Microorganisms can be protected from the iodine by absorption or solid particles present in the water. Additionally, reactions between organic particles and the disinfectant can increase the demand for disinfection.
It is important to note that iodine consumption should be limited, especially in children and pregnant women, as excessive iodine can be hazardous to health. The experiment suggests that the tablets may work better in clearer water, and a follow-up video is planned to test this hypothesis at a nearby lake.
This experiment serves as a reminder that even failed experiments can provide valuable insights. By sharing this video, the presenter hopes to show how we can continue to learn and improve our understanding of water purification methods. Stay tuned for part two of this series, where boiling and the Lifestraw will be tested on dirty water.
Water purification tablets function by releasing chemical agents into water, effectively disinfecting it and making it safe for consumption. The active ingredients, commonly chlorine, iodine, or chlorine dioxide, kill or neutralize harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites present in untreated water, preventing waterborne illnesses.
Here’s how they work:
Chemical Disinfection: When added to water, these tablets dissolve and release the disinfectant. Chlorine-based tablets, for instance, release chlorine gas, which combines with water to form hypochlorous acid, a powerful disinfectant.
Microorganism Elimination: The active ingredients attack and destroy harmful microorganisms by disrupting their cellular structure or inhibiting their metabolic processes.
Waiting Period: Depending on the type of tablet and water temperature, there’s typically a waiting period (usually around 30 minutes to a few hours) for the disinfectant to effectively treat the water.
Effectiveness: Water purification tablets are highly effective against bacteria, viruses, and some parasites but might not remove certain chemicals, heavy metals, or sediment.
Always follow the instructions provided with the tablets for proper usage and dosage, considering factors like water temperature and clarity for optimal effectiveness.
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