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Banana Peels Remove Toxins

Banana Peels Remove Toxins

The slippery yellow skins are better known as a comedic prop, but now research has demonstrated they have a capacity to absorb lead and copper from river water. Previously, other plant materials such as peanut shells and coconut fibers had been tried, but minced banana peels did the trick better.

Researchers also found minced banana peels could be used repeatedly to purify water contaminated by industrial plants and farms – up to eleven times – and still be effective. In their study paper titled “Banana Peel Applied to the Solid Phase Extraction of Copper and Lead from River Water: Preconcentration of Metal Ions with a Fruit Waste” they also noted the very low cost of banana peels and the fact there is no need to prepare them chemically for the water purification procedure.

They theorized the acid content of the peels make them a good material for absorbing the heavy metals. Heavy metal pollution in rivers and streams can be absorbed by species such as mollusks and algae, and eventually enter the food chain where it contaminates fish and frogs. They can make aquatic species sick and die, so an effective and affordable means of removing them is very beneficial.

A river in the Philippines suffered enough industrial pollution, including heavy metal poisoning, that it was recognized as biologically inactive. Restoring a river to its original natural health is obviously far more costly than preventing the pollution from damaging it in the first place, if it is even possible to restore it.

Using materials produced naturally is also helpful because they are less likely to result in extra contaminants being introduced into the polluted area. Some remediation projects use manmade chemicals to address the pollution and risk additional contamination. A very obvious example is the use of chemical dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico after the recent huge oil spill. Some say their use only added to the marine contamination, and there isn’t enough long-term data for gauging the overall impact of mixing that much oil and dispersant on the ecosystem health and for humans.

Gustavo Castro, Ph.D., Universidade Estadual Paulista in São Paulo was one of the lead researchers. Funding for the research was granted by the Sao Paulo Foundation.

Image Credit: Stevehopson.com

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256 comments

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8:41PM PDT on Jun 3, 2011

Ta!

5:03PM PDT on May 31, 2011

Cool, thanks for posting this interesting fact!

12:42PM PDT on May 14, 2011

A really interesting article. I am left wondering however what happens to the used skins once they are contaminated. Unless they are treated properly then surely it is simply moving the problem from one place to another.

6:53PM PDT on May 13, 2011

I found this very interesting and would like to know if there are ways to introduce this. Are there specific ways to prepare the skins and what kind of container would be best? Do the skins soak in the water or pass thru a kind of filter that is made containing the peels? What ever you can tell me will be appreciated and used.

6:08AM PDT on May 12, 2011

Interesting.

10:47AM PDT on May 7, 2011

How interesting, now I want to try it! ;) Thanks

3:46AM PDT on May 4, 2011

Bananas are best

5:15PM PDT on May 3, 2011

I like bananas and have one every day if possible.

1:25AM PDT on May 3, 2011

I love bananas.

12:09PM PDT on May 2, 2011

Now all we need is a way to donate our used banana peels to this cause!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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