MDPI, Water, 15(13), p. 2012, 2021
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Contaminated water consumption is one of the greatest risks to human health, especially in underdeveloped and developing countries. Water is a universal right, but millions of people worldwide consume untreated surface water. The objective in this study is to evaluate water purification with Nopalea cochenillifera var. Miúda biomass. Fragments (1, 2, and 3 g) of N. cochenillifera were added to the aqueous solution containing red-yellow Chromic and Podzolic Luvisol simulating turbid water sources in Northeastern Brazil. The total, non-structural (i.e., reducing and non-reducing sugars, alcohol insoluble solids), and structural (i.e., pectin) carbohydrates, adsorption kinetics, turbidity, electrical conductivity, pH, zeta potential, and total coliforms presence were evaluated. Findings show that the Nopalea cochenillifera biomass adsorbed the suspended particles in the aqueous solution, making it more translucent due to the complex and heterogeneous adsorbents’ ion exchange matrix, but the biomass addition did not eliminate total coliforms from the aqueous solution. We concluded that the Nopalea cochenillifera biomass water treatment reduces suspended dissolved particles and turbidity, but it needs to be associated with other treatments to eliminate total coliforms and ensure water safety for human consumption.