Aveiro scientists discover banana skins can clean water

Aveiro scientists discover banana skins can clean water

A team of investigators at Aveiro university have discovered that banana skins are “cleansing champions” when it comes to cleaning waters contaminated by heavy metals. They are particularly efficient when it comes to ‘capturing mercury’.

Bottom line, to treat 100 litres of contaminated water – and render it fit for human consumption – all you would need . beyond a bit of scientific know-how – is 291 grams of banana skin.

The Aveiro team, led by Elaine Fabre, is excited – saying their discovery could revolutionise the way wastewaters are treated on a wide scale.

All that’s needed is for banana skins to be left in contact with contaminated water “for a certain period of time”.

In a process called sorption, the cellulose, lignin and hemicellulose in peel gradually cleanses water by devouring its toxins.

Explain reports, the skins have been tested ‘in diverse real systems’ with tap water, salt water and industrial effluent – “even in the presence of many other elements beyond heavy metals”. And in each experiment, the banana skins won through.

Says Fabre, “the results show a very promising potential in the application of banana skins in everyday systems”.

The team was also made up of scientists Claúdia Lopes, Eduarda Pereira, Carlos Silva, Carlos Vale, Paula Figueira and Bruno Henriques, working out of CESAM, Aveiro’s centre of studies of the environment and sea, CICECO, the institute of materials and the LAQV – REQUIMTE, research faculty.