The antimicrobial properties of Moringa oleifera Lam. for water treatment: a systematic review

Aducabe Bancessi, Maria Manuela Ferreira-Pinto, Elizabeth Duarte, Luís Catarino, Teresa Nazareth

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Plant extracts have been used as alternatives to the conventional chemical water treatment. Moringa oleifera Lam. is one of the plants used for this purpose due to its antimicrobial and coagulant properties. However, there is no systematization of Moringa’s application methodology. Different parts of the plant, extraction methods and concentrations can be applied to remove several pathogens present in contaminated drinking water. In the present work, reported Moringa applications with antimicrobial effect were systematically reviewed, in order to identify effective methodology(ies) for water treatment. Forty-nine articles were screened for: (1) part of the plant used, (2) extraction method, (3) extract concentration, (4) targeted pathogens, and (5) inhibition zone obtained. Nine articles complied with these criteria and were carefully analyzed; eight of them reported on leaf extracts and only one on seed extracts. Two approaches were used: analysis by pathogen and overall analysis. A total of eight different extraction methods were reported. Extract concentrations used ranged from 0.02 to 800 mg mL−1 and were tested on twenty pathogens. Our analysis revealed that none of such methods is effective against all the tested pathogens. However, leaf extracts obtained with distilled water or with 95% ethanol were the most effective ones for a higher number of pathogens such as Escherichia coli and, possibly, Vibrio cholerae. Moreover, Moringa’s extract concentration of 30 mg mL−1 obtained by the 95% ethanol extraction method was the most efficient. Findings suggest an effective procedure to use Moringa, reinforcing its importance as an environmentally friendly alternative for water treatment in areas lacking a water supply system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number323
JournalSN Applied Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Antimicrobial activity
  • Extraction methods
  • Inhibition zone
  • Pathogens
  • Water purification


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