Often researchers are regarded as bananas for their long and tireless dedication to a very narrow space of subject matter, but now sane scientists at Brazil's UNSEP have discovered a way to use the classic banana peel as a way to purify water.
Aside from their distinct taste and high levels of potassium, bananas and more importantly their peels have been used for a wide variety of endeavors including the making of leather shoes, subbing in for the leaves of house plants and polishing silverware. Scientists lead by Gustavo Castro at UNSEP have now found that banana peels are also excellent when it comes to removing heavy metals from water.
Even in industrialized countries, heavy metals can slip through water supplies and the methods used to remove them are often expensive and involve the use of man-made chemicals or objects to get the job done. This problem is heightened in first-world countries where reliable water purification is a luxury available only to the very rich or the very lucky few.
As it turns out, a purification apparatus made of crushed banana peels can not only remove heavy metals from water as well as or better than man-made or other biological solutions (coconut fibers and peanut shells, to name a few) but can be used up to 11 times before losing any of its metal-capturing abilities.
This brings to light potentially massive options for water purification systems as bananas are inexpensive to produce and the peels require no chemical modification before they are used in the process of removing metals. What's more, the peels can easily be disposed of once they have been used and so long as they are handled properly the metals can be returned to the earth while the peel quietly biodegrades.
All banana jokes aside, this is one great environmental use for the fruit that researchers certainly didn't slip up on.