Technology to prolong the life of perishable foods can help us avoid a lot of waste. Scientists in Singapore have discovered a promising new possibility in the form of chemical treatment of Pineapple leaves. The team’s new upgrade cycle turns the normally discarded biomass into an aerogel, which can be used not only for preserving other fruits and vegetables, but also for cleaning toxic chemicals in waste water.

these new biodegradable gas gels are masterpieces of mechanical engineers from National University of Singapore. They spent many years trying to make these environmentally-friendly materials from waste products including coffee grounds and bagasse. But researchers are particularly excited about the material made from Pineapple leaves, which they say can be used in many ways.

“these eco aerogels made from pineapple leaf fibers are very widely used,” said Professor Duong Hai-Min, head of the research team. “They can be used effectively as oil absorbents and for heat and sound insulation. We also demonstrated their potential applications in food preservation and wastewater treatment. This is a big step towards sustainable agriculture and waste management and provides an additional source of income for farmers. ” < / P > < p > the process starts with chopping pineapple leaf fibers and mixing them in water, while stirring a small amount of non-toxic chemicals. The mixture was then aged, frozen and freeze-dried to form aerogels and then treated with activated carbon powder. This crucial last step allows aerogels to absorb ethylene gas, which can promote the ripening process of fruits and vegetables, and the effect is very good. < / P > < p > “a large number of fresh agricultural products are discarded due to inadequate post harvest storage and processing facilities and inefficient or disrupted transportation systems,” said study author Professor Phan Thien. “Therefore, reducing deterioration can greatly reduce waste. In our lab experiments, the aerogel modified with activated carbon can delay the decay process for at least 14 days. The modified eco aerogel absorbs ethylene 6 times as much as ethylene glycol, a commercial Potassium Permanganate. Compared with the traditional use of strong oxidants, this is also a safer method, which is more effective than non-toxic chemical sprays and is used for food preservation.

researchers have produced other aerogels using other variants of this technology, but they say aerogels made from Pineapple leaves have stronger mechanical properties. They can also be coated with diethylenetriamine to turn it into a waste water filter that can remove nickel ions four times as efficiently as conventional solutions, the researchers said.

“because of its high porosity, aerogels are highly efficient in removing metal ions, even in dilute solutions with low metal ions,” Duong said. “The treatment process is simple, the cost is low, and no secondary waste will be generated. The ecological aerogels can also easily desorb metal ions, and can be repeatedly used to further reduce the cost.

the team has applied for a patent for this new aerogel, and points out that this material can provide a cheap solution for food preservation and wastewater treatment, with a cost of about 20 to 35 dollars per square meter. Global Tech