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Scaling Achievements Through The Cactus Fluids’ Research

ByMike Paul

Jun 12, 2021

Often in our lives, we get chances and instances that make way for future recognition. Fame and name aren’t generated in a fortnight, but life’s contribution as a whole result in it. Several people, situations and unexpected decisions affect the path and the outcome. One such dynamic and exciting story is the account of Norma Alcantar, a professor who scaled heights to venture to the Florida Inventors Hall Of Fame. Her account undoubtedly inspires and stands as an eye-opener to keenly look for opportunities in every small thing around us.

Childhood Inspiration

The major research domain of the professor is around the fluid found in the cactus leaves. The ignition of interest outlined in the domain set its roots at a very young age.

  • Her grandmother lived in Michoacan, Mexico. The water used for irrigation was muddy and needed filtration.
  • Due to no equipment, she used to boil them with cactus to purify and sediment out the mud easily.
  • She inspired Norma to pursue science fields and related her natural experiences when she found her granddaughter interested in chemicals used to reduce surface tension and filtration.

This nostalgic memory helped in the later professional stage when Alcantar joined as a professor in USF in 2003.

Professional Endeavours

The job and study centred around the friction mechanism for oil in snakes. But, Norma scientifically wanted to prove her grandmother’s experiment of filtration.

  • The cactus worked quickly to extract the mud, which might have taken 18 hours without it.
  • Lab experiments rediscovered the hidden mucilage in the cactus fluid, which could attract the contaminants.
  • Soon, the testing extended to other oils, bacteria and isotopes that were deemed contaminants which bore positive results. Finally, the mucilage was extracted and developed as a commercial product in powder form.
  • The product was used to test the contaminant separation in the 2010 Haiti earthquake, which led to the deep-water oil spill.
  • Further research spread worldwide to countries like Bangladesh, Mexico and Vietnam, where it is successfully used for water purification. The discovery was an astonishing movement harnessing a new and natural remedy instead of artificial elements. Soon, it became one of the rigid solutions for the global water cleaning issue.

Praises All-Around

Patents and industrial use of the product bore forth several applauds and praises for Norma.

  • Her patents for natural filtering element were adapted in Cancer and Parkinson’s disease treatments.
  • She is a certified senior member of the National Academy Of Inventors and secured awards like Fulbright Core Scholar Award.
  • Her work is recognised as a social contribution for being a versatile resource of purification and filtration.
  • She is well recognised and praised by several dignitaries like the former USF president, Judy Genshaft and Florida Inventors Hall Of Fame chair of Advisory Board, Paul Sanberg.
  • Served as the National Academy Of Inventors chapter’s President and extended her study among translations and aid for further development.
  • Nominated for the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame with the nickname of ‘powerhouse’.

The achievement and success accounting for the endless praises were all devoted to the childhood experience by the inventor herself. In addition, she dedicates and remembers the endeavours and support of her grandmother, whom she lost in 2008. Above all, she directs the scientific growth in practical ways and urges to ponder on every chance life provides in a practical viewpoint. 

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