Bananas Offer Natural, Effective Solution for Water Contamination
Water contamination presents a huge challenge globally. In addition to the millions of people who die each year from water-related diseases, all life forms are at risk as heavy metals (e.g., mercury) found in water tend to accumulate in fish, plants, etc. Various chemical systems which attempt to deal with this problem are expensive and often require use of materials that are themselves toxic. Natural alternatives (e.g., sawdust, peanut shells, sugar cane) have been employed with mixed results. But now researchers may have discovered a cheap, effective solution that can work even better than the chemical stuff: banana peels!
Brazilian scientists from the Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos mixed dried, pulverized banana peels with contaminated water, and measured how well they did at extracting heavy metals compared to other conventional methods. The banana peels were 200-300% more effective at absorbing copper than peanut husks, sawdust, bentonite (a clay) or perlite (volcanic glass). For lead absorption, the banana peels were 312% better than perlite, 89% better than sawdust and 42% better than peanut husks.