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Banana peel can be used to purify water

22nd March 2011

Banana peels can help people purify drinking water from heavy metals such as lead and cadmium, according to Brazilian researchers.

water

Gustavo Rocha de Castro, a researcher from the Bioscience Institute at Botucatu in Brazil, said that banana skins could outperform even conventional purifiers such as aluminium oxide, cellulose and silica, when it came to purifying water of heavy metals.

Some people suspect that such commercially-available filters are also mildly toxic.

The Brazilian team's preferred method of purifying water with bananas is in line with previous studies, which also used plant microstructures to purify water of heavy metals.

A researcher from the Botucatu lab said the idea of using banana peel to purify water occurred to him one afternoon out of the blue.

The research team dried the banana peels in the sun, ground the dried skins, added the resulting powder to river water high in lead and copper.

But since the dried banana peel powder acted as a bioaccumulator for heavy metals, people who wish to use this method should use an acceptable disposal method for the resultant waste, to avoid contaminating the environment.

Castro said the method would work on nickel, zinc, and copper, as well as lead and cadmium.

He said that, however, only an expert could determine the proper proportion of banana peel skins to water.

Dimitris Kalderis, a wastewater treatment expert at the Technical University of Crete, said he believed the results showed promise, and that a device based on the method simply needed to be constructed by someone with the requisite skills.

He said he imagined people having either small automated home-use systems.

Alternatively, water purifying units could be built at central points for multiple families to use in a given area or community.



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Comments

karin mak

Thursday 24th March 2011 @ 0:43

I made a documentary about workers in China poisoned by cadmium (www.reddustdocumentary.org), and this would be very helpful for the communities where manufacturing or mining waste contaminated the environment.


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