Chemists cook up way to remove microplastics using okra

via the American Chemical Society.

SAN DIEGO, March 22, 2022 — In many cuisines, okra serves as a master thickener of stews and soups. The goo from that fruit and other plants, such as aloe, cactus and psyllium, can also clean water and wastewater of some types of solid pollutants, as well as some that are dissolved. Now, researchers have demonstrated that combinations of these food-grade plant extracts can remove microplastics from wastewater.

microplastics okra

The health effects of ingesting microplastics — tiny pieces of plastic 5 mm or smaller — are currently unclear, but studies suggest that people unintentionally consume tens of thousands of these particles every year. “We think that microplastics by themselves may not be much of a health hazard, but anything that they get into or any type of toxic substance that gets attached to these plastics could go inside our bodies and cause problems,” says Rajani Srinivasan, Ph.D., the principal investigator for the project.

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