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Scientist on purity hunt

- Fluoride pollution solution in sight

The increasing problem of fluoride contamination in groundwater in the state has drawn the attention of a professor of University of Manchester.

Sandra Downes (56) has been working with faculty members of the water and environment science department of AN College to find the solution to fluoride contamination in groundwater in Bihar.

Sources said after arsenic, groundwater is polluted in the state because of the presence of high level of fluoride.

According to experts, excess fluoride content is dangerous for human consumption as it leads to problems such as accelerated tooth decay, painful warping of bones in addition to skeletal and dental fluorosis.

Downes said the water purification technology she is developing with faculty members of AN College would be a fusion of biomaterial science and nano-technology. Biomaterial is being used in making implants and artificial organs while nano-technology is also being used in fields of medicine, manufacturing and computing. “At present, I can’t divulge much about my findings because the research is in the initial stage,” said Downes.

On why she chose AN College and not any other institute in cities like Delhi or Mumbai to conduct research work, Downes said: “I researched before getting into collaboration with AN College. Ashok Ghosh, head of the water and environment science department, has done exemplary work on arsenic contamination in groundwater. I met Seema Sharma, a faculty member three years ago in Manchester during her fellowship programme. While interacting with her, I got to know about various activities of the department,” said Downes.

Downes, whose earlier research work focused on how biomaterial can be useful in the treatment of the bone repair, diabetes, blindness and other diseases, said: “For young researchers, it is very important to keep in mind that nothing is substitute for hard work.”