Durian aficionados are in for good news!
Scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore are combating food waste by transforming discarded durian husks into antibacterial gel bandages.
Researchers at NTU extracted cellulose powder from husks after cutting and freeze-drying them. This is then mixed with glycerol to form a soft hydrogel that can be cut into bandage strips.
The husk, which makes up more than half of the fruit, is thrown away after the fleshy part is consumed. Most of this agricultural waste ends up in landfill sites or is incinerated. This poses a significant environmental problem since 480,000 metric tonnes of durian peel waste is being produced annually. According to a 2020 study published in ScienceDirect, scientists had also attempted to utilize the fruit husk as an adsorbent to improve groundwater quality.
“In Singapore, we consume around 12 million durians per year, but we can’t do much with the husk and the seeds and this causes an environmental problem,” said Professor William Chen, director of the food science and innovation program at NTU.
According to Chen, the innovation can likewise turn other food waste, for example, soy beans and spent grains, into hydrogel, helping limit the country’s food waste.
Compared to regular bandages, the organo-hydrogel bandages will keep wound regions moist, which can speed up healing.
The specialists say utilizing food waste and yeast for the antimicrobial bandages is more cost-effective as ordinary bandages are created from more costly silver or copper mixtures.
A native of tropical regions in Southeast Asia such as Thailand and Singapore, this thorny fruit has been described as having an odour of rotten onions, turpentine and even sewage. English writer Anthony Burgess wrote it is “like eating sweet raspberry blancmange in the lavatory.”
In fact, the aroma is so pungent that the fruit has been banned from many spaces in Singapore including public transport, hotels and airport.
But whether you love or hate durians at least eating them may not be so bad for the environment.
From : pk.mashable.com