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Singapore scientists turn durian husks into bandages

A durian’s smooth, yellow flesh inside its thorny inexperienced husk seen at a store in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Mohd Rasfan | AFP | Getty Pictures

Some adore it, whereas others detest it.

Durians are banned on all public transportation in Singapore because of their scent — which some have likened to sewage or smelly socks. Some inns in Southeast Asia even cease their visitors from bringing the fruit into the rooms.

But some durian-lovers are keen to pay high greenback for the “king of the fruit” — with somebody reportedly parting with a whopping $48,000 for one in 2019.

However there could also be a brand new cause to understand the prickly fruit.

Scientists in Singapore are utilizing durian husks to create antibacterial bandages they are saying can heal post-surgery wounds.

Repurposed rinds

The know-how — developed by a group of researchers at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological College (NTU) — makes use of a reasonable process to extract cellulose from the fruit’s thick, green husks. The cellulose is blended with glycerol to create a smooth, silicone-like gel, which may be minimize to supply plasters, in keeping with the college.

So long as Singaporeans maintain consuming durians, we are able to maintain making these bandages.

William Chen

Researcher at Nanyang Technological College

Twitter erupted with questions, and lots of targeted on one factor: the fruit’s pungent scent.

Some puzzled if the durian’s sturdy scent can be detected on the bandages, or if wearers will be barred from public buses.

Chen insisted the bandages are odorless.

Others joked about it, with one saying — tongue-in-cheek — that it wasn’t surprising that durian plasters can kill bacteria.

Regardless of the reactions, researchers say the innovation may assist clear up a severe environmental drawback: meals waste.

“It ties in with our drive in direction of creating improvements to scale back meals waste as a complete,” mentioned William Chen, the director of NTU’s Meals Science and Expertise Program and lead scientist behind the innovation.

Professor William Chen and a member of his group experiment on durian husks.

NTU Singapore

Not less than one durian vendor is happy concerning the prospects.

“That invention … is a improbable option to recycle the husk,” James Wong, who sells durians in Singapore, instructed CNBC. He mentioned durian peels are at present thrown away and he pays waste disposal firms to clear them. “To have the ability to promote the husk to get cash is approach higher.”

80% of the fruit’s weight

Meals in Singapore is comparatively low cost because it’s extremely backed by the federal government, Chen instructed CNBC.

“The draw back of this inexpensive and plentiful meals is that we do not actually worth the meals,” he mentioned.

Scientists at Nanyang Technological College developed a hydrogel bandage fabricated from upcycled durian husks.

NTU Singapore

To mitigate the issue of meals waste, Chen determined to experiment with durian husks, a fabric that is usually thrown away after the smooth, yellow flesh of the fruit is consumed. The husk can account for about 80% of the fruit’s weight.

Durians have been the selection of fruit for a number of causes, the researcher mentioned.

Giant fruits like durians give scientists the required quantity to work with. Additionally they have excessive fiber content material, which makes them appropriate for the method.

The provision of durians additionally performed an element, Chen mentioned.

“Singapore consumes 12 million durians a yr,” he mentioned. “So long as Singaporeans maintain consuming durians, we are able to maintain making these bandages.”

Advantages and disadvantages

In accordance with Chen, bandages created from durian husks are each environmentally and medically useful. Not like present plasters, the brand new bandages comprise hydrogels, which might defend wounds and maintain them moist.

Some medical specialists are onboard with the innovation too.

“The hydrogel bandages produced from durian husk carried out equivalently effectively to these out there,” mentioned Affiliate Professor Andrew Tan, a metabolic problems knowledgeable at NTU’s medical faculty, who isn’t a part of the bandage mission.

The hydrogel supplies moisture which helps take away contaminated tissue and encourages therapeutic, he mentioned, including that “hydrogels may cool the wound which is useful in assuaging ache.”

Individuals wait in line to purchase durians in Singapore on June 24, 2021.

Suhaimi Abdullah | NurPhoto | Getty Pictures

“I’ve at all times believed that nature has the solutions to all the things,” mentioned Priyadarshani Kamat, a Singapore-based homeopath. “Previously, I’ve seen how bandages fabricated from potato peels assist burn victims get well their pores and skin shortly, and this [durian] hydrogel is much like that.”

Durian bandages aren’t primed to switch all bandages — not but anyway. Tan identified they don’t seem to be appropriate for heavy wounds, as they’re principally composed of water.

They are not 100% biodegradable both. Whereas the group has managed to switch the smooth, cushioned layer with the durian hydrogel, the outer adhesive half remains to be fabricated from plastic, mentioned Chen.

Nonetheless, Chen and his group hope to deliver the durian husk bandages to market inside the subsequent two years.

It makes me really feel barely higher about binging on durians as a result of I do know the husks can be utilized for an excellent trigger.

Xin Yi Lin

Singaporean pupil

“I wish to flip analysis into one thing helpful to society,” Chen instructed CNBC.

He added that such improvements shouldn’t change the necessity to generate much less waste. “We do not need these improvements to fire-fight with growing waste — the thought is to scale back it at its supply,” he mentioned.

After listening to about Chen’s analysis, one durian-lover felt higher about consuming the fruit.

“I do know the durian husks, particularly throughout durian season, contribute to a whole lot of waste,” mentioned Singaporean pupil Xin Yi Lin, who’s a self-proclaimed durian-fanatic. “It makes me really feel barely higher about binging on durians as a result of I do know the husks can be utilized for an excellent trigger.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/10/22/singapore-scientists-turn-durian-husks-into-bandages.html | Singapore scientists flip durian husks into bandages

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