A group of Australian researchers have found a valuable environmental use for nanoparticles derived from green mangos.
Researchers are often finding new ways to use substances found in natural products in innovative ways. Springwise has highlighted such innovations as leather made from palm leaves and packaging material based on plant matter in the past. Such diverse uses for seemingly innocuous materials demonstrates the potential scope for further sustainable discoveries. Indeed, now scientists from the University of South Australia (UniSA) have developed nanoparticles from the peel of green mango fruit that could help to reduce oil contamination.
Oil contamination in soil can be a real problem for farming, rural communities, and any other organisms that are in frequent contact with the earth. 3-7 percent of all oil becomes a form of waste sludge during processing activities. This major environmental problem can have cytotoxic, mutagenic and even carcinogenic effects on the nearby organisms. The contact can be either direct or indirect. This means that secondhand contact, such as eating food grown in such soil, can also be dangerous. The fact that the physical properties of oil evolve over time also results in new toxins coming to light as the material ages in the soil.
The newly-developed nanoparticles from green mangos could prove to be a solution for this problem. They proved to be over 90 percent effective in removing total petroleum hydrocrabons (TPH) from soil during a one-week testing treatment period. The nanoparticles were synthesised from green mango peel extract and iron chloride. The zerovalent iron nanoparticles break down toxins in the waste sludge through chemical oxidation, thereby removing TPH. The only materials left behind are decontaminated materials and dissolved iron.