As fruit, bananas are perfectly packaged – all the protection they need is provided by their flexible, resilient peels. As sixteen-year-old Turkish student Elif Bilgin discovered, the starches and cellulose contained in their outer layer can also be used to create materials that insulate wires and form medical protheses. Bilgin developed a chemical process that turns the peels into a non-decaying bioplastic that she hopes will help replace the need for petroleum and combat pollution. Bilgin’s endeavors won her the top prize and $50,000 at the Scientific American Science in Action competition, as well as the honor of becoming a finalist in the Google Science Fair.
Sixteen-Year-Old Student Turns Banana Peels Into Bioplastic [Inhabitat]