T3-12 Capacity Building through Water Quality and Safety Analyses in Herat, Afghanistan

Monday, July 10, 2017: 4:45 PM
Room 15 (Tampa Convention Center)
Paul Ebner , Purdue University , West Lafayette , IN
Amanda Deering , Purdue University , West Lafayette , IN
Mosa Mojadady , Herat University , Herat City , Afghanistan
Zahra Rahimi , Herat University , Herat City , Afghanistan
Roma Amini , Herat University , Herat City , Afghanistan
Nesar Isaqzehi , Herat University , Herat City , Afghanistan
Ehsanulla Azizi , Herat University , Herat City , Afghanistan
Ershad Ershad , Herat University , Herat City , Afghanistan
Solaiman ​Barak , Herat University , Herat City , Afghanistan
Maqsood Popal , Herat University , Herat City , Afghanistan
Shakib Amini , Herat University , Herat City , Afghanistan
Neman Mohammadi​ , Herat University , Herat City , Afghanistan
Mirwais Rahimi , Purdue University , West Lafayette , IN
Kevin McNamara , Purdue University , West Lafayette , IN
Haley Oliver , Purdue University , West Lafayette , IN
Introduction: Contaminated water is a leading cause of approximately 600 million annual cases of foodborne disease, globally. Twenty percent of child mortality in Afghanistan is attributed to diarrheal disease. There are limited data on water quality and safety in Afghanistan, as well as limited laboratory capacity for food and water analyses.

Purpose: The purposes of this study were to train the first class of food technology undergraduate students at Herat University (Herat City, Afghanistan) in basic water quality and safety laboratory techniques, while concurrently conducting a regional water assessment study.

Methods: A total of 236 water samples from private wells (n=128) and taps from the municipal water system (n=108) were collected from Herat Province, Afghanistan. Samples were aseptically collected, transferred, and analyzed at the Herat University Food Technology Laboratory. Nitrate, nitrite, lead, phosphate, and arsenic concentrations were determined by spectrophotometry and water hardness by titration. Coliform and generic Escherichia coli concentration were determined by filtration.

Results: We did not detect arsenic (0 of 236) in any of the samples. All samples tested for lead (n=28) were below EPA maximum contaminant levels (MCL) (ave. 3.2 µg/liter). In contrast, 28 of 233 samples had nitrate levels greater than the MCL (10mg/liter) and 15 of 235 samples had nitrite levels >300µg/liter. On average, well water was harder than tap water; there were no differences in phosphate levels. Further, 92 of 213 (43.2%) had detectable coliforms (ave. 19.3 CFU/100 ml) and 52 of 215 (24.2%) had detectable E. coli (ave. 28.6 CFU/100 ml). Escherichia coli was detected in 21.2% and 26.7% of tap and well water, respectively.  

Significance: This study indicated clear needs for systematic analyses of Herat City water to develop plans for water quality improvement and management. Engaging the students in research projects teaches basic research and analytical skills needed in the economy to address endemic water and foodborne diseases.