Aloe Vera Insect Repellants from Aloe Vera Peel Waste
Aloe vera is a succulent plant from the genus Aloe and is grown in various tropical, semi-tropical, and arid regions around the world. China, the U.S.A., Mexico, Australia and some Latin American countries are the major producers and exporters of aloe products. Aloes produce two substances: the gel, which is the clear, jelly-like substance found in the inner part and the aloe latex, which comes from just under the plant’s skin and is yellow in colour.
Because of these properties, aloe vera has been used for a variety of reasons, including treating wounds and skin problems or promoting healthy digestion. It’s known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, which make it useful for treating burns, sunburns, and minor abrasions. Aloe vera gel can also help soothe and moisturize the skin. Aloe vera is also a common ingredient in skin care products, shampoos and conditioners.
While the inner parts of the aloe vera plant are in high demand, the peels are thrown away as agricultural waste. It is said that millions of tons of aloe vera peels get thrown away every year. The agricultural waste is used in the creation of biomass, which can improve the soil quality at aloe farms. While it is good that they are not being thrown into the landfill, agricultural waste does have some environmental consequences. For example, after some time, it can release methane and other greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change.
Scientists from the American Chemical Society have found another alternative for the aloe vera peels, which can act as a more sustainable solution. They have found that the peels can ward off bugs and can act as a natural insecticide for crops. The aloe vera insect repellant discovery was made at an aloe vera production centre, where they noticed that insects were leaving the aloe vera plants alone but attacking other plant varieties, they had discovered natural aloe vera insect repellants.
To analyze how and why aloe vera insect repellants work, the team from the American Chemical Society dried out the peels in the dark at room temperature by blowing air over them. They then produced various extracts from the peels. The researchers found that in the hexane extract (used to extract edible oils from seeds and vegetables) contained octacosane. Octacosane is a compound with known mosquitocidal properties.
The researchers identified that there were over 20 compounds in aloe vera insect repellants that had antibacterial, antifungal or other potential health benefits. Additionally, they found six compounds within the peels that are known to have insecticidal properties. Best of all, they also concluded that the compounds were not toxic, meaning there are no safety concerns in using aloe-peel-based insecticides in crops.
The researchers still have to test how these aloe peel insecticides could work against agricultural pests. They hope that developing a natural pesticide could help farmers in areas where insects can be a major threat, including regions of Africa, the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas, and the maize and millet fields in India. The researchers are also testing to see if the aloe vera peels also have anti-mosquito and anti-tick properties, which could eventually be used to develop a natural aloe vera insect repellant for consumer use.
This is an important discovery to help make aloe vera production and even other crop production more sustainable. If the researchers can develop this into a natural insecticide, it could help us move away from harmful pesticides and make farming less harmful to the environment. Furthermore, this might also be the beginning of what we can do with other plant peels and waste and how we can utilize them for other purposes instead of throwing them away.
Source Happy Eco NewsNovember 30, 2023