STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Tarleton State University professor Rajani Srinivasan has been awarded a patent for her invention related to the use of plant-based materials in water treatment.

Dr. Srinivasan, an associate professor of chemistry and former head of the Department of Chemistry, Geosciences and Physics, was awarded the patent in October.

Her invention relates to polysaccharides and their hybrids from food-grade plant materials like seeds of fenugreek and tamarind, husks from psyllium, fruits of okra, cladodes of cactus and aloe vera leaves, for purification of water and wastewater.

The polysaccharide agents of the invention are effective to treat a variety of waters, including contaminated and waste. The water treatment agents of the invention are effective in separating solids, organic and inorganic pollutants and pathogens from water.

Polysaccharides from plant sources are renewable materials, widely available, and possess biological and chemical properties including nontoxicity, biocompatibility, biodegradability and polyfunctionality.

These materials are cost effective, can be used in existing water/wastewater treatment infrastructure and generate byproducts that can be used for other applications. For example, fenugreek husk, a byproduct of seed mucilage, can be used as animal feed.