Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Home India Indian-origin Researcher Converts Banana Plantation Waste into Packaging Material

Indian-origin Researcher Converts Banana Plantation Waste into Packaging Material

Indian-origin researcher discovers a way to turn banana plant into packaging material

An Indian-origin researcher-led team at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) on Friday announced it has discovered a novel way to turn banana plantation waste into packaging material that is not only biodegradable but also recyclable.

Associate Professor Jayashree Arcot and Professor Martina Stenzel looked at ways to convert agricultural waste into something that could value-add to the industry it came from, while potentially solving problems for another.

“What makes the banana growing business particularly wasteful compared to other fruit crops is the fact that the plant dies after each harvest,” Arcot from UNSW School of Chemical Engineering, said in a statement.

“We were particularly interested in the pseudostems – basically the layered, fleshy trunk of the plant which is cut down after each harvest and mostly discarded on the field. Some of it is used for textiles, some as compost, but other than that, it’s a huge waste,” she added.

pseudostem banana
The pseudostem of the banana plant is used to make this biodegradable packaging material. Pixabay

According to Arcot, banana growing industry produces large amounts of organic waste, with only 12 per cent of the plant being used (the fruit) while the rest is discarded after harvest.

Using a reliable supply of pseudostem material from banana plants grown at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, the duo set to work in extracting cellulose to test its suitability as a packaging alternative.

“The pseudostem is 90 per cent water, so the solid material ends up reducing down to about 10 per cent,” Arcot noted.

The team brought the pseudostem into the lab and chopped it into pieces, dried it at very low temperatures in a drying oven, and then milled it into a very fine powder.

The team then took this powder and washed it with a very soft chemical treatment.

“This isolates what we call nano-cellulose which is a material of high value with a whole range of applications. One of those applications that interested us greatly was packaging, particularly single-use food packaging where so much ends up in landfill,” informed Stenzel.

When processed, the material has a consistency similar to baking paper.

Depending on the intended thickness, the material could be used in a number of different formats in food packaging.

“There are some options at this point, we could make a shopping bag, for example,” said Arcot.

The material is also recyclable.

Banana plant waste
The banana trees provide large amount of organic waste. Pixabay

“One of our PhD students proved that we can recycle this for three times without any change in properties,” Arcot added.

Tests with food have proved that it poses no contamination risks.

Other uses of agricultural waste that the duo have looked at are in the cotton industry and rice growing industry – they have extracted cellulose from both waste cotton gathered from cotton gins and rice paddy husks.

“What makes bananas so attractive in addition to the quality of the cellulose content is the fact that they are an annual plant,” said Arcot who has been at UNSW since 1990 after completing her education from Bachelor’s and Master’s from the University of Madras and PhD from AP Agricultural University, Hyderabad.

Also Read- Placenta Changes in Older Mothers Leads to Poor Health of Male Child

“If the banana industry can come on board, and they say to their farmers or growers that there’s a lot of value in using those pseudostems to make into a powder which you could then sell, that’s a much better option for them as well as for us,” said the researchers..

The UNSW has more than 52,000 students from nearly 130 countries, and highest are from India. (IANS)

STAY CONNECTED

19,120FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,781FollowersFollow

Most Popular

Fashion Trends to Look Your Best in this Festive Season

It's a time to pause, to relook, to rethink - It's the time to revive the spirits. This year festivities will not be like...

Perfect Hairstyle Tips for the Festive Celebrations

It's Durga Puja time! It's the most awaited period of the year for many of us. And if you are among the ones who...

Proper Ventilation Key Factor to Prevent COVID Spread

New research adds to the growing body of evidence that effective or proper indoor ventilation may be a key factor in preventing the spread...

The 21-Day Immunity Plan To Follow: Book Review

With 80 percent of chronic disease attributable to lifestyle and linked environmental factors and within the lifestyle hierarchy, poor diet being the most important...

Tattoos May Impair Natural Sweating and Cause Overheat of Body

Researchers have found that tattoos may impair natural sweating, potentially causing the body to overheat if the tattoos cover a large area of the...

Amazon Allowing Work From Home Untill June 2021

Amazon is allowing its corporate employees to avail of the work from home option, if their roles permit, till June 2021. Amazon had earlier said...

Netflix Has Much Work to Do in Indian Market

Content streaming giant Netflix which reported slow growth in its third-quarter (July-September period) despite the social distancing times admitted that it has much work...

Aparshakti Khurana: It Was An Amazing Experience To Eat At ‘Baba Ka Dhaba’

Actor Aparshakti Khurana on Tuesday paid a visit to Baba ka Dhaba in Malviya Nagar, days after the heartbreaking story of the elder couple...

Recent Comments