Banana fibre, when treated with certain chemicals, can absorb up to 18 times their weight of oil, according to a new study published September 2012 in the online journal Carbohydrate Polymers.
Led by Mangesh Teli, professor of fibre and textile processing at the Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) in Mumbai, India, who carried out the study called Acetylation of Banana Fibre to Improve Oil Absorbency.
Researchers actually developed a means to treat banana fibres chemically so that they repel water while absorbing oil.
“Oil spill leaves detrimental effects on the environment, living organisms and economy. In the present work, an attempt is made to provide an efficient, easily deployable method of cleaning up oil spills and recovering of the oil,” says an abstract for the new study.
However, banana fibres may not be effective in dealing with oil spills that contain certain chemical pollutants, the study says.
Find the study here.