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World NewsSingapore scientists turn durian husks into bandages

Singapore scientists turn durian husks into bandages

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

Mohd Rasfan | AFP | Getty Images

Some find it irresistible, whereas others detest it.

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

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

But there could also be a brand new motive 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 expertise — developed by a workforce of researchers at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) — makes use of a cheap process to extract cellulose from the fruit’s thick, green husks. The cellulose is combined with glycerol to create a comfortable, silicone-like gel, which might be lower to supply plasters, in response to the college.

As lengthy as Singaporeans preserve consuming durians, we are able to preserve making these bandages.

William Chen

Researcher at Nanyang Technological University

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

Some puzzled if the durian’s robust 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.

Despite the reactions, researchers say the innovation might assist remedy a severe environmental downside: meals waste.

“It ties in with our drive towards developing innovations to reduce food waste as a whole,” stated William Chen, the director of NTU’s Food Science and Technology Program and lead scientist behind the innovation.

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

NTU Singapore

At least one durian vendor is worked up concerning the prospects.

“That invention … is a fantastic way to recycle the husk,” James Wong, who sells durians in Singapore, instructed CNBC. He stated durian peels are presently thrown away and he pays waste disposal firms to clear them. “To be able to sell the husk to get money is way better.”

80% of the fruit’s weight

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

“The downside of this affordable and abundant food is that we don’t really value the food,” he stated.

Scientists at Nanyang Technological University developed a hydrogel bandage made from upcycled durian husks.

NTU Singapore

To mitigate the issue of meals waste, Chen determined to experiment with durian husks, a cloth that is sometimes thrown away after the comfortable, 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 stated.

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

The availability of durians additionally performed an element, Chen stated.

“Singapore consumes 12 million durians a year,” he stated. “As long as Singaporeans keep eating durians, we can keep making these bandages.”

Benefits and downsides

According to Chen, bandages created from durian husks are each environmentally and medically useful. Unlike present plasters, the brand new bandages comprise hydrogels, which may shield wounds and preserve them moist.

Some medical consultants are onboard with the innovation too.

“The hydrogel bandages produced from durian husk performed equivalently well to those in the market,” stated Associate Professor Andrew Tan, a metabolic problems professional at NTU’s medical college, who will not be a part of the bandage undertaking.

The hydrogel supplies moisture which helps take away contaminated tissue and encourages therapeutic, he stated, including that “hydrogels may also cool the wound which is helpful in alleviating pain.”

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

Suhaimi Abdullah | NurPhoto | Getty Images

“I have always believed that nature has the answers to everything,” stated Priyadarshani Kamat, a Singapore-based homeopath. “In the past, I’ve seen how bandages made of potato peels help burn victims recover their skin quickly, and this [durian] hydrogel is similar to that.”

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

They aren’t 100% biodegradable both. While the workforce has managed to exchange the comfortable, cushioned layer with the durian hydrogel, the outer adhesive half remains to be made from plastic, stated Chen.

Still, Chen and his workforce 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 a great trigger.

Xin Yi Lin

Singaporean scholar

“I want to turn research into something useful to society,” Chen instructed CNBC.

He added that such improvements shouldn’t substitute the necessity to generate much less waste. “We don’t want these innovations to fire-fight with increasing waste — the idea is to reduce it at its source,” he stated.

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

“I know the durian husks, especially during durian season, contribute to a lot of waste,” stated Singaporean scholar Xin Yi Lin, who’s a self-proclaimed durian-fanatic. “It makes me feel slightly better about binging on durians because I know the husks can be used for a good cause.”

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