The humble banana has uses beyond the realm of beauty remedies. Its peels can be used as an excellent water purifier, decontaminating drinking water of toxic metals.
Researchers say minced banana peel performs better than an array of other purification materials, the journal Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research reports.
Gustavo Castro and colleagues from Instituto de Biociências de Botucatu in Brazil noted that mining processes, runoff from farms, and industrial wastes can put heavy metals, like lead and copper, into waterways.
Heavy metals can have adverse health and environmental effects. The current methods of removing them from water are expensive, and some substances used in the process are toxic themselves, according to a Instituto de Biociências statement.
A previous work has shown that some plant wastes like coconut fibers and peanut shells can remove these potential toxins from water.
The researchers found that minced banana peel could quickly remove lead and copper from river water as well as, or better than, many other materials.
They also found that the purification apparatus made of banana peels can be used up to 11 times without losing its metal-binding properties.
Banana peels are very attractive water purifiers because of their low cost and as they don’t have to be chemically modified to work, the researchers said.