Earlier today I blogged an article from India about using cactus mucilage as a flocculent to purify water, and commented that without further scientific confirmation, I was withholding judgment.

I see here that New Scientist has a preliminary article up about the flocculent properties of the cactus mucilage.

FORGET expensive machinery, the best way to purify water could be hiding in a cactus….

Householders in the developing world could boil a slice of cactus to release the mucilage and add it to water in need of purification, says (Norma Alcantar at the University of South Florida in Tampa), “The cactus’s prevalence, affordability and cultural acceptance make it an attractive natural material for water purification technologies.”

But Colin Horwitz of GreenOx Catalysts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, says many issues remain, including how much land and water is needed to grow cacti for widespread water purification, and how households will know all the bacteria have been removed.

And it turns out that all the scientific research is happening in Florida, not Arizona.