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Moringa Leaf Washer

By: Joann Michelle Sutyak


The Pennsylvania State University- University Park
Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, Class of 2017
Overview
This manual contains information on the sterile washing of Moringa leaves after harvesting. It
includes U.S. FDA regulations for vegetable washing, the design of a simple washer, and the
materials and maintenance required for the washer.

Table of Contents
1. Industry Standards and Regulations
2. Washer Design
a. Concept Generation and Selection
b. Materials and Costs
3. E. Coli Testing
a. Ozone Generator
b. Moringa Seed and Sand Filter
4. Washer Operation
a. Filter Preparation
b. Washing

1. Industry Standards and Regulations


In industry there are two main methods for washing vegetables. The first, is a tank
system, which bubbles air through for agitating the plants during washing. The second
system consists of a conveyor belt which plants move along as they are immersed in
bubbling water and sprayed with water. Images of these designs are shown below.

Figure 1. ATR Vegetable Washer tank1 (left) and SS Engineers Conveyor Washer2
(right)

Both systems follow FDA approved regulations for the washing of vegetables. The main
design component to be considered is countercurrent flow of water to the vegetables
being washed, which the FDA highly recommends. The FDA and EPA also require
drinking water to contain undetectable amounts of E. Coli per liter of water.3,4

Though both industry standard designs work well, they are expensive and waste water,
two considerations that must be kept in mind when trying to aid starting Moringa farmers
in places without and abundant source of clean water. The aim of this project was to
design a washer that could be easily assembled and provide access to safe water for
washing food on a small and large scale.

2. Washer Design
a. Concept Generation and Selection
Based on the industry standards, two designs were generated that use the same washing
principles but conserve water through filtration.These are illustrated in Figures 2 and 3.
Each design focused on conserving water with the use of filters and intense air bubbling
to wash the vegetables faster.

Figure 2. Tank Design

Figure 3. Conveyor Belt Design

The AHP selection process was used to select the tank design for rapid prototyping. The
selection criteria used were cost, water conservation, maintenance, efficiency, and ease of
use.

These criteria were believed to be the most important in considering moringa

farmers throughout Senegal and all of Africa. The selection matrices can be shown
below.
Table 1. Comparison Matrix

Cost
Water Saving
Maintenance
Efficiency

Cost
1.00
1.11
0.67
0.50

Water Saving
0.90
1.00
0.50
0.33

Maintenance Efficiency
1.50
2.00
2.00
3.00
1.00
2.00
0.50
1.00

Ease of Use
1.20
1.50
1.00
0.80

Ease of Use

0.83

0.67

1.00

1.25

1.00

Table 2. Normalized Comparison Matrix

Table 3. Selection Matrix

Based on an assessment of FDA regulations and the needs expressed by our client, we
selected the following design for a washing system shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Washer Design

The washer design utilizes countercurrent water flow, with minimal waste of
water. We propose designing a special filter using moringa seeds, which have
been shown to filter out over 99% of bacteria in water. This will enable moringa
producers to change the filter easily without spending copious amounts of money
on replacement filters.

b. Materials and Costs


A cost analysis of the washer was completed using components ranging from low end
prices to higher end prices, as shown in table 4. The larges price deviation is in the water
tank, which varies based on material and size. A larger stainless steel tank would cost
much more than a small plastic tank.
Table 4. Washer Components and Costs

Component
Circulator/ Positive
Displacement Pump

Low End Cost


(USD)

High End Cost


(USD)

80

200

Rubber Tubing (8ft)

25

80

Tank

50

200

Water Filter Housing

50

Water Filter Inside


Components

20

50

Ozone Generator

30

200

Valve

15

50

Total

228

830

For the initial prototype a low cost washer was built for testing, as depicted in Figures 4-7.

Figure 4. Washer Side View

Figure 5. Washer Top View

Figure 6. Side View

Figure 7. Drain Valve

The final washer design also utilized an ozone generator in the place of an air
compressor. This had a dual purpose of killing bacteria and agitating the water for
thorough washing.
3. E. Coli Testing
a. Ozone Generator
Ozone has been shown to kill bacteria in water by binding to the surface of their
membranes and puncturing a hole.5 For this prototype, the H2O 5000 ozone generator
with a flow rate of 5000 mg/L was turned on at 50% for a flow rate of 2500 mg/L of
ozone.
To test the effectiveness of the ozone generator in killing E. Coli, ozone was bubbled
through three 400 mL samples of duck pond water. Ozone was bubbled through the
water for 5, 10, and 15 min for the first, second, and third sample respectively. An E.
Coli

growth

medium

of

the

chromogenic

substrate

5-bromo-4-

chloro-3-indolyl-beta-Dglucuronic acid (X-Gluc) was added to 100 mL of each sample

and allowed to incubate for 48 hours. All E. Coli testing materials were obtained from
Aquagenx.
After a 48 hour incubation period, the samples were viewed as shown in Figure 8. Any
green in the samples indicates the presence of E. Coli, while the mustard yellow color
indicates no E. Coli is present. As can be seen, the samples contained no detectable E.
Coli after ozone was bubbled through them for 15 min. Therefore, we recommend a
washing time of 15 min for each batch of moringa leaves. This will more than pass the
safe limit by a factor of 2 since E. Coli growth medium was added to the pond water
samples.

Figure 8. Ozone-purified duck pond water at 5, 10, and 15 min


(from left to right) with E. Coli growth medium added

b. Moringa Seed & Sand Filter


The Moringa Sand filter was tested after pond water was run through it for 10, 15, 20, 15,
and 30 min. However the results of these tests are still inconclusive based on the 48 hour
incubation period required. These values will be reported in a follow-up report.

4. Washer Operation and Maintenance


a. Filter Preparation
To prepare a filter, a cotton bag was made to fit the size of the filter encasement.
Approximately 10 g of Moringa seeds were then crushed and combined with fine sand to
fill the bag. The bag should then be sewn shut to prevent sand from leaving the filter, and
placed in the filter casing.

b. Washing
To wash leaves, the water bucket should be filled up to just below the second gasket.
The filtering process can be initiated by simply plugging in the pump. Ozone should be
bubbled through the water at at least 250 mg/L for 15 min to purify water before
washing.
To wash leaves, place them in a mesh basket and dip the basket into the water for a total
of 10-15 min.

References
(1) http://nilma.com/eng/prodotti/scheda.jsp?gruppo=1#artundefined
(2) http://www.ssdairyequipments.com/vegetable-washer.htm l
(3) http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/RetailFoodProtection/FoodCode/ucm1864
51.htm
(4) https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/table-regulated-drinking-water-co
ntaminants#Microorganisms
(5) http://www.nesc.wvu.edu/pdf/dw/publications/ontap/2009_tb/ozone_DWFSOM44.pdf