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A green reason to love the durian

Cheryl Teh

The Straits Times/Asia News Network

 /  Sun, February 3, 2019  /  09:02 pm
A green reason to love the durian

While pectin can be used to make jam hold its structure, or in some medical adhesives, Professor William Chen, director of NTU's food science and technology program, has found a way to extract pectin from durian husks and turn it into biodegradable packaging materials. (Shutterstock/File)

Researchers at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have found a way to turn durian husks into biodegradable packaging materials.

Pectin is a natural part of the human diet, and can be found in fruits and vegetables. Most fruits - like pears and apples - contain large amounts of pectin.

While pectin can be used to make jam hold its structure, or in some medical adhesives, Professor William Chen, director of NTU's food science and technology program, has found a way to extract pectin from durian husks and turn it into biodegradable packaging materials.

To do so, the husks are cut, then ground and shredded to produce a cellulose powder.

This is then used to create sheets of the biodegradable material.

Read also: Five best places in Indonesia to enjoy durian

The material is shiny and slightly cloudy - and can be degraded within a month if it is put in the soil. If required, the material's coloring can be changed by introducing color into the cellulose shreds.

While pectin can be used to make jam hold its structure, or in some medical adhesives, Professor William Chen, director of NTU's food science and technology program, has found a way to extract pectin from durian husks and turn it into biodegradable packaging materials.

Prof Chen and his team are in talks with several food and beverage companies to work on commercializing the material.

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This article appeared on The Straits Times newspaper website, which is a member of Asia News Network and a media partner of The Jakarta Post