research team holds up newly made aerogel

Photo Source: National University of Singapore

Singapore Scientists Upcycle Pineapple Leaves Into Food Preservation Aerogel

A group of mechanical engineers at the National University of Singapore has developed a new substance that helps to prolong the life of perishable food products. The aerogel, a type of ultralight and porous solid, is made from recycled pineapple leaves blended with water, aged, frozen, freeze-dried, then treated with activated carbon powder. The carbon powder allows the aerogel to absorb ethylene gas, which is what accelerates ripening in fruits and vegetables. As a result, the aerogel helps to prolongs the life of perishable food products and may help to reduce food waste. “In our lab experiments, eco-aerogels modified with activated carbon can delay the rotting process by at least 14 days,” said Professor Phan-Thien, a lead researcher on the team. The scientists have filed a patent for the new aerogel, noting that the material could offer an inexpensive solution for food preservation and even waste water treatment. “These eco-aerogels made from pineapple leaf fibers are very versatile,” said research Professor Duong Hai-Min. “This is a big step towards sustainable agriculture and waste management.” Get the full story here at New Atlas.

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