Technology

Peanut Shells Biological Air-Filter (biofilter)

Peanut shells have been long underestimated. Peanut out, peel away. However: On the shell some diligent microorganisms live. Biotechnology have discovered that shells convert toxic substances in the air to CO2 and water. There is the first prototype for a bio filter from peanut shells in Mexico.

Peanut shells are made of cellulose, are indigestible and are inhabited by micro-organisms which can harm both the people and the harvest. The shells could be yet more than worthless waste. The Mexican Biotechnologist Raul Pineda Olmedo has found out that some micro-organisms in the shell can purify the air of toxic constituents. He developed a bio filter from peanut shells.

Peanut Shells Biological Air-Filter
Biotechnologists have discovered that microbes can clean the air of certain substances in and peanut shells. Photo: Raul Pineda Olmedo

The microbes turn toxic components into CO2 and water

Olmedo and his team from the National University of Mexico conducting research in the field of environmental technology and specialize in air filter. For their filter prototype, the scientists used the fungus Fusarium and the bacterial genus Brevibacterium which typically settle in peanut shells. The microbes turn toxic constituents as they occur in solvents, carbon dioxide and water.

“The peanut shell is suitable, because she is naturally hollow and has a large surface that comes in contact with the air. That facilitates the development of micro-organisms”, explained Olmedo.

It took about 28 days until the filter enough microbes would have settled. The filter the same in its present form a hood for the kitchen, the researchers report. The prototype in a controlled ambient temperature had to work to achieve good results.

The bio filter can catch also solid particles

Just like other filter media the new biofilter could capture solid ingredients such as dust or smoke particles from the air. Currently, Mexican scientists are looking for partners with whom they can harness their invention for commercial applications. The filter could be especially interesting for companies, working with colors and therefore with toxic solvents in the workplace have a problem.