Durian Gel Bandage: Singapore's New Food Waste Recycling Method
NTU scientists in Singapore are using discarded durian husks to make antibacterial gel bandages as a way to combat food waste.
Cellulose powder is extracted from the fruit's husks and mixed with glycerol after they have been sliced and freeze-dried. Soft hydrogel is created from this mixture, and the bandage strips are cut from the hydrogel.
"In Singapore, we consume about 12 million durians a year, so besides the flesh, we can't do much about the husk and the seeds, and this causes environmental pollution," According to Professor William Chen, director of NTU's food science and technology program, over half of durians are composed of the fruit's husks, which are usually thrown away or burned, adding to the waste stream.
Other food waste, such as soybeans and spent grains, can also be turned into hydrogel using Chen's technology, which he said helps to reduce the amount of food that is wasted in China. The organo-hydrogel bandages have the added benefit of keeping wounds cooler and moister than conventional bandages, which could speed up the healing process.
The researchers claim that making antimicrobial bandages from waste materials and yeast is less expensive than using more expensive metallic compounds like silver or copper ions to achieve the same result.
Tan Eng Chuan, a durian wholesaler, claims to sell 1,800 kg of durians a day during the durian season. He argued that repurposing the normally discarded parts of the fruit would make it "more sustainable" to consume it.
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