NUS researchers recycle pineapple leaves into low-cost fat traps

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SINGAPORE: Pineapple leaf fiber could hold the key to cheaper weight loss supplements with the added benefit of being greener and more sustainable for the environment.

The National University of Singapore (NUS) said on Tuesday May 17 that its researchers had developed a method to use these cheap and plentiful fibers to absorb fat.

These recycled, fat-absorbing pineapple leaf fibers could come in the form of capsules or crackers.

Using this part of the fruit, which is usually discarded during the harvesting process, also helps reduce agricultural waste.said Associate Professor Duong Hai-Minh, leader of the research team.

“In our recent work, we have capitalized on the excellent mechanical properties of pineapple leaf fibers for fat absorption, a high-value application. With our previous work on the use of pineapple leaves for the production of highly absorbent aerogels, our goal is to help reduce agricultural waste and increase farmers’ profits.

The production method developed by the NUS team is also “very cost effective”, added Professor Assoc Duong, who is also from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the NUS College of Design and Engineering.

HOW IT WORKS?

After ingestion, the capsule or cracker absorbs fatty compounds such as animal fats and forms clumps of fat-coated fibers.

These fat-coated lumps will then be flushed out of the digestive system within one to three days, like other foods we eat, said research team member Associate Professor Phan Toan Thang, Department of Surgery at NUS Yong Loo Linen. Medicine School.

In lab tests that simulate the acidic state of the human digestive tract, the NUS team found that one gram of pineapple leaf fiber can absorb 45.1 grams of cooked fat and 20.4 grams of fat. human.

“Based on our test results, you’ll need less than one capsule of pineapple leaf fiber to absorb saturated fat from eating a burger,” said Professor Assoc Duong.

The approach proposed by the NUS team could be used for other types of cellulose fibres, such as sugarcane bagasse or coffee pulp and grounds.

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