Pineapple as another effective source of activated carbon for the removal of pesticide in water

Time sure really flies when you are immersed with what you are working on. It has been 2 months already since the blogpost that I wrote about my journey as an IUPAC NGAGE champion had been published. Using the first tranche of funds from my grant, I’ve spent the past months conducting experiments to produce Banana Peel Activated Carbon (BPAC) as adsorbent for removing pesticide in water. It’s really an exciting and fulfilling experience as I conducted the project which was just an idea for a contest less than a year ago!

Why pineapple peel?

There are hundreds of pesticides and I decided to work on the removal of an insecticide called methomyl. Relative to other pesticides, methomyl has a higher risk of contaminating groundwater due to its higher tendency to leach based on its physicochemical properties and interaction with the soil.

In addition to banana peel, I asked myself,  “What if I used other type of  agricultural waste? Will it be less or more effective?”. To answer this question, I decided to use pineapple peel as a starting material to produce Pineapple Peel Activated Carbon (PPAC) because of its abundance in Calauan, Laguna, a nearby town which is famous for its pineapple production and numerous stores that sell pineapples. So, instead of adding to the solid waste problem, the peels could be utilized for cleaning the pesticide rinsate being generated on the farms, thereby contributing to circular economy and a more sustainable crop protection.

Calauan Town Plaza

Initial results

For the result of the experiments, I was really surprised to find out that both the BPAC and PPAC are very effective in removing methomyl from water. At first, I did not believe the results that I obtained but subsequent production of BPAC and PPAC and their use in adsorption experiments showed consistent results.

Effect of PPAC in removal of methylene blue (proxy compound for pesticide) in water

Although the initial tests did not result to 100% removal of the pesticide, I strongly believe that the subsequent optimization experiments will result to the almost complete, if not totally complete removal of pesticide in water.

Reflecting back and looking ahead

From the project conceptualization up to implementation, I’ve gained a lot of technical and practical experience and learned a lot of lessons in project and time management, managing research funds, communication with different stakeholders, and personal development. I can’t wait for the completion of my project and its potential application in the farms! Thank you for reading my blog and I look forward for your comments or suggestions, ‘till my next post!

Eric Jhon Cruz, N-GAGE Champion

%d bloggers like this: