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Ferns can purify water that has been contaminated with arsenic, according to new research. A team of US scientists has found that the species of fern called Pteris vittata can suck arsenic out of tainted water, reducing arsenic levels nearly 100-fold within 24 hours.

The scientists hope that the procedure could be a cheap and quick way to clean up water supplies in places such as Bangladesh and India, where arsenic pollution of drinking and irrigation water has emerged as a massive health threat.

But others warn that the approach might not be suitable for cleaning large volumes of water, and that many poor nations lack the infrastructure needed to maintain such treatment facilities.

Link to full Nature Science Update news story

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