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Banana peels get a second life as water purifier

Date:
March 10, 2011
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
To the surprisingly inventive uses for banana peels -- which include polishing silverware, leather shoes, and the leaves of house plants -- scientists have added purification of drinking water contaminated with potentially toxic metals. Minced banana peel performs better than an array of other purification materials, according to a new study.

Banana peels show promise as superior water purification materials.
Credit: iStockphoto

To the surprisingly inventive uses for banana peels -- which include polishing silverware, leather shoes, and the leaves of house plants -- scientists have added purification of drinking water contaminated with potentially toxic metals. Their report, which concludes that minced banana peel performs better than an array of other purification materials, appears in ACS's journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

Gustavo Castro and colleagues note that mining processes, runoff from farms, and industrial wastes can all put heavy metals, such as lead and copper, into waterways. Heavy metals can have adverse health and environmental effects. Current methods of removing heavy metals from water are expensive, and some substances used in the process are toxic themselves. Previous work has shown that some plant wastes, such as coconut fibers and peanut shells, can remove these potential toxins from water. In this report, the researchers wanted to find out whether minced banana peels could also act as water purifiers.

The researchers found that minced banana peel could quickly remove lead and copper from river water as well as, or better than, many other materials. A purification apparatus made of banana peels can be used up to 11 times without losing its metal-binding properties, they note. The team adds that banana peels are very attractive as water purifiers because of their low cost and because they don't have to be chemically modified in order to work.

The authors acknowledge funding from the São Paulo Research Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Renata S. D. Castro, Laércio Caetano, Guilherme Ferreira, Pedro M. Padilha, Margarida J. Saeki, Luiz F. Zara, Marco Antonio U. Martines, Gustavo R. Castro. Banana Peel Applied to the Solid Phase Extraction of Copper and Lead from River Water: Preconcentration of Metal Ions with a Fruit Waste. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2011; 110216180259021 DOI: 10.1021/ie101499e

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Banana peels get a second life as water purifier." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110309113030.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2011, March 10). Banana peels get a second life as water purifier. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110309113030.htm
American Chemical Society. "Banana peels get a second life as water purifier." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110309113030.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

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