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Decontaminating oil sludge with green mango peel

Close up of green mango hanging from a tree

Credit: BigStock

The world is extremely reliant on oil as a source of energy. Last year, the global oil industry produced 92.6 million barrels of oil per day to meet our demands. However, oil refineries unavoidably produce large volumes of oil sludge, despite advances in control technologies. In fact, 3 to 7 per cent of oil processing activities result in sludge waste. Oil contaminated soil presents toxic conditions — cytotoxic, mutagenic and potentially carcinogenic — for all living things including people. Over time the toxicity and the condition of oil change present other new and exposed toxins through the process of weathering.

The mango peel activated system successfully decontaminated oil-polluted soils by removing 90 per cent of the toxins after one week of treatment.

Remediating oil sludge effectively is critical but it is also a costly and ongoing effort. With oil sludge presenting a massive risk to the ecosystems and the environment, researchers from the University of South Australia sought to find an affordable, sustainable and environmentally friendly treatment solution for oil sludge.

In the study, the researchers experimented with green mango peel extract to create zero valent iron nanoparticles that can break down various organic contaminants. The researchers found that the mango peel extract worked extremely well, outperforming a chemically synthesised material in removing more contaminants from the oil sludge. The mango peel activated system showed a gradual increase in iron concentration over the three days of treatment time. It also successfully decontaminated oil-polluted soils by removing 90 per cent of the toxins after one week of treatment. The plant-based nanoparticles work by breaking down toxins in oil sludge through chemical oxidation, leaving behind only the decontaminated materials and dissolved iron.

Mango peel is a rich source of bioactive compounds and thus the zero valent iron made from the mango peel is more potent in the oxidation process. Green mango peels are a waste product that can effectively be utilised as a cost-effective, eco-friendly and sustainable treatment solution for oil sludge.

Source: Environmental Technology & Innovation


Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!