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Banana peels can be used to purify water

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March 14, 2011

Research published in the journal of the American Chemical Society claims that mashed up p...

Research published in the journal of the American Chemical Society claims that mashed up peel can remove heavy metals from river water

The skin of a banana has been used to great comic effects in numerous slapstick routines for many years. It's also good for the skin and is a traditional cure for warts. You can polish shoes and silver with it. You can make wine with it and it's even been known to find itself being dried, wrapped in paper and smoked. Now, research published in the journal of the American Chemical Society claims that mashed up peel can remove heavy metals from river water.

Heavy metals can end up in the waterways of the world as a result of industrial or agricultural processes and have been linked to a variety of health problems, ranging from nausea and vomiting to lung, kidney and brain damage. While there are numerous purification methods are already employed to try and keep the nasties at bay, many involve significant cost and can carry their own toxic risks.

Adding to other work which has shown the benefits of using coconut fibers and peanut shells, Gustavo Castro and colleagues from Brazil's Instituto de Biociências de Botucatu at the Universidade Estadual Paulista have found that minced banana peel could quickly remove lead and copper from river water and is at least as effective, and in some cases even better than, existing methods.

The team found that the banana skin water treatment apparatus can be used up to 11 times without losing its cleansing properties. The use of banana skins is seen as very attractive for water purification because of low cost and the fact that no chemical modification is necessary for the process to work.

On the face of it, this seems to be a very promising use for an otherwise discarded waste product. Unfortunately, the university didn't get back to us when we inquired about what happens to the minced banana skin at the end of the process.

More detailed information is available in the research paper entitled Banana Peel Applied to the Solid Phase Extraction of Copper and Lead from River Water: Preconcentration of Metal Ions with a Fruit Waste, which has been published in the American Chemical Society's journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.   All articles by Paul Ridden
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6 Comments

Vamos Antofagasta, Calama, San Pedro de Atacama... ...a guardar las cáscaras de las bananas !!!

Gonzalo Villouta Stengl
15th March, 2011 @ 03:07 pm PDT

Not really "purify", which as defined is free from bacteria, heavy metals, salts, organic pollutants, etc.

This just removes heavy metals... so far from turning polluted river water to "pure". state, capable of safe human consumption.

matthew.rings
15th March, 2011 @ 09:41 pm PDT

The "Dried and Smoked" part came from a good friend of mine that I used to play guitar with in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Yes, ol' "Barely Melting" started that rumor back in the days of Woodstock as a joke. A friend of mine from Southern California actually tried it back then. No, it doesn't work. If it did, the Hippies would've stripped the Rain Forests bare by now.

Myron J. Poltroonian
16th March, 2011 @ 11:18 am PDT

Here in the Philippines, we have for years, used Banana's - and the Banana enzyme for many purposes - it is an alternative to chemicals. I invite all of you to www.asiagreen.org - explanation and uses. We are changing peoples environments using banana's instead of chemicals - just revived a major river in Manila through the use of Banana's.

Respectfully Submitted,

Kevin

kevin.byrne@asiagreen.org

ctocm
18th March, 2011 @ 01:27 am PDT

another use? organic rose fertilizer!

dry the banana peel then cut into narrow strips. Crumble the strips as you bury them a few inches deep in the soil surrounding the rosebush. The resulting blooms will be huge and vibrant!

Facebook User
23rd March, 2011 @ 06:17 am PDT

Shall we use this for the purposes mentioned. This can also be used as teeth whitener.

Ajay Sanghrajka
12th September, 2012 @ 12:14 pm PDT
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