The San Pedro River, located in the border of Mexico and Guatemala, is of great importance to the Mayan culture, connects a wide wetland network, and is a revenue source to local communities, but is being affected by pollution and the growth of aquatic weeds. The rural border communities also face the scarcity of commercial fertilizers, which hinders their participation in productive programs. Here, we studied the potential use of aquatic weeds such as Eichhornia crassipes, P. stratiotes, and Salvinia molesta, to produce a biofertilizer. After performing physicochemical analysis, germination, and growth tests, we scientifically confirmed that the Biophyte fertilizer is safe and adequate for use by farmers. Finally, we also worked along the community to create know-how and awareness.
Mazahuas are an indigenous group that lives in a small area in Central Mexico and have accumulated centennial knowledge on the use of plant substrates as cleansing agents. In this project, students interviewed the Mazahua community, documented the artisanal soap making process, and compiled a list of seven substrates, such as soda, sanacoche and wood ashes, used by the Mazahuas in the elaboration of traditional natural biodegradable soaps. Biodegradability and substrate performance as cleansing agents were assessed by performing phytochemical analysis, concluding that these soaps comply with their purpose as detergents while having a lower environmental impact. Preservation of the Mazahua culture can provide an alternative to the use of commercial detergents, one of the main sources of water pollution.
In this project we present a study of the polluted water from two important water bodies in the Mexico-USA border: Lake Salton Sea (California) and Mexicali’s Lagoon (Baja California). We analyze the reaction of extremophile microorganisms (tardigrades) to pollution in order to evaluate its possible use as bioindicators of water quality. We have found that the resistance properties of tardigrades to extreme conditions become them excellent candidates to use them in polluted environment studies. Based on the tardigrades survival in the samples water, our results show that pollution is higher in Salton Sea than Mexicali’s Lagoon. Also we propose a nanotechnological solution for this problem using extremophiles unique capabilities.
The life powder is made for people with low resources and without drinking water. In Quintana Roo, 96,000 people live without water in their homes, a figure that increased compared to 2014 when the number was 87,600, according to the latest figures of Coneval 2016. Our product is a flocculant and disinfectant powder made of tamarind, moringa and acacia. Our goal was to create a powder based on natural products and easy access. We measure the disinfecting and flocculating power of the powder using cenote water. Our powder can disinfect gray water and it is very cheap. It can have a positive impact on rural communities by giving them the possibility of improving the quality of their local water.