Products from banana waste
Banana production produces enormous by-products such as peels, leaves, pseudo-stem, stalk and inflorescence. The ratio of banana waste and product is 2:1 (Science Daily, 2016). These by-products have numerous applications such as the banana peels can be used to make compost and fertilisers. The compost can improve the soil structure, aeration, texture, water holding capacity, porosity and increase the stress tolerance. By using this organic fertiliser, which is safe for human, animals and the environment, the use of chemical fertilisers would be greatly reduced as it is relatively cheaper. Also, the amount of wastes added in landfill sites would also decrease (Einour et al., 2015). Banana peels can also be converted into valuable animal feed for livestock such as chicken and pigs.
Bioethanol fuel can also be produced from rotten bananas. Bananas are found to be a great source for alternative energy as they consist of useful sugars and monomers of sugars which could be fermented to produce ethanol. According to a study conducted by Hossain et al, 2011, it was concluded that the yield of bioethanol could be increased by increasing the fermentation period and adding a combination of enzyme (pectinase and cellulase) rather than only one enzyme. The results also showed that the mixture of rotten pulp and skin was more appropriate to produce bioethanol. The bioethanol produced could eventually be used as fuels in normal petrol engine (Hossain et al., 2011). Bioethanol is a renewable source of energy and more sustainable. It is also less toxic compared to other fuels as it is carbon neutral, i.e. it generates the same amount of carbon dioxide as the crop has absorbed during the photosynthesis process.
Another application of banana by-product is to process it into edible starches such as starch, pectin and cellulose. These starches are used as gelling agent, thickening agent and stabilisers in the food industries. Banana starches have a higher market value as they are relatively low in amylase content, highly resistant to heat and amylase attack, low swelling properties and low solubility in water. Compared to plantain peels, banana peels have a higher pectin content. Therefore, banana by products such as green culled banana, the pseudo stem and peels can be a low-cost source and raw material for high quality starch, pectin cellulose. (Padam et al., 2012).
Pseudostems and peduncle in banana plants are major sources of fibre. These fibres can be used as raw materials in textile and packaging industries. Banana fibres have produced high quality textiles in Nepal and Japan. It can also be used to make paper, ropes, mats, handicrafts, yarn, table cloth, curtains, etc (Vigneswaran et al., 2015).
Products from banana waste