Banana peels get a second life as water purifier

Mar 09, 2011

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 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 purifiers because of their low cost and because they don't have to be chemically modified in order to work.

Explore further: Rooting out horse-meat fraud in the wake of a recent food scandal

More information: "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.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Biosensors to probe the metals menace

Aug 28, 2007

If the pond life goes star-shaped, you'd be wise not to drink the water. Researchers from CRC CARE are pioneering a world-first technology to warn people if their local water or air is contaminated with dangerous levels of ...

Berkeley chemists pioneer low-cost water testing devices

Dec 23, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Because of both population growth and the impact of climate change, safe drinking water will become one of the planet's most precious commodities. But public health workers lack simple, low-cost ...

Don't Compare Bananas to Pears

Jun 23, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Yellow leaves on banana plants give off a blue glow when viewed under UV light. This luminescence comes from decomposition products of chlorophyll, the substance that makes leaves green.

Recommended for you

A refined approach to proteins at low resolution

22 hours ago

Membrane proteins and large protein complexes are notoriously difficult to study with X-ray crystallography, not least because they are often very difficult, if not impossible, to crystallize, but also because ...

Base-pairing protects DNA from UV damage

Sep 19, 2014

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich researchers have discovered a further function of the base-pairing that holds the two strands of the DNA double helix together: it plays a crucial role in protecting ...

Smartgels are thicker than water

Sep 19, 2014

Transforming substances from liquids into gels plays an important role across many industries, including cosmetics, medicine, and energy. But the transformation process, called gelation, where manufacturers ...

Separation of para and ortho water

Sep 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Not all water is equal—at least not at the molecular level. There are two versions of the water molecule, para and ortho water, in which the spin states of the hydrogen nuclei are different. ...

User comments : 0