A Research on Moringa Oleifera

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Research on Moringa Oleifera
Home » Issue 18 » Moringa: the science behind the miracle tree
Moringa: the science behind the miracle tree
Submitted by rau on 03 March 2011 A flower from a moringa tree
© WEDC, Loughborough University | Moringas have long been known as miracle trees. Now scientists are investigating their properties in depth, as Sue Nelson andMarlene Rau report.In the foothills of the Himalayas grow trees, five to ten metres tall, with clusters of small oval leaves and delicately perfumed cream-coloured flowers. These are Moringa oleifera – the most widely cultivated of the 14 species of the genusMoringa, known as ‘miracle trees’.“It is called a miracle tree because every part of the tree has benefits,” says Balbir Mathur,
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They produced a purified extract of all the water-soluble protein from the seeds to study how the protein adsorbs onto an interface between water and silica (silicon dioxide, SiO2) as a model for the interface between water and mineral particles. |
Dried Moringa oleifera seeds
Image courtesy of Dr Majority Kwaambwa |
The team used a neutron beam at the Institut Laue Langevinw2 in Grenoble, France, in a technique called neutron reflectometry, to measure the thickness, density and coarseness of the forming protein layer.
How does this technique work? When you see a layer of petrol on a puddle, you can see a variety of iridescent colours: light bounces off both the top and bottom of the petrol layer. The reflected light waves will be slightly out of phase, and depending on the thickness of the petrol layer, will either add up or cancel each other out, resulting in different colours. Many more materials are transparent to neutrons than to light, and neutron wavelengths are also about one thousand times shorter (0.2-2 nm) than those of light (about 0.5 µm), which is why a neutron beam can be used to measure layers of protein a single molecule thick. Closest to the silica surface, M. oleifera protein is packed very densely, in a layer about two molecules thick (50 Å). Then, with increasing distance from the silica surface, the concentration of adsorbed


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