- Credit: Travis Teo

The surprising properties of the smelly Durian fruit

Are Durian smelly wastes making your pizza delivery guy to run away from your home? Singapore has the answer to this very pungent problem.

We've all at least heard of it. It smells so vile - it's banned from flights, public transport and hotels. And the wastes develop an even worse odour, as they rot before being picked up by the garbage truck.

But the scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have found a way to tackle this problem with food waste by turning discarded Durian husks into antibacterial gel bandages.

Credit: Travis Teo

Credit: Travis Teo

The main process is done by extracting the cellulose powder from the fruit's husks after they are sliced and freeze-dried. Then the powder is mixed with glycerol and voila. This mixture becomes soft, pleasantly smelling hydrogel, which is then cut into bandage strips. They haven't tackled the issue of vomiting workers, slicing Durian husk, but a research in this direction is well underway too.

People in Singapore consume roughly 12 million Durians per year, but besides the flesh, there's not much to do with the husk and the seeds, except to discard them in the bin. The husk itself creates more than half of the fruit and simply discarding it, increases the level of waste environmental pollution.

Credit: Travis Teo

Credit: Travis Teo

Better still, this technology can also turn other food waste, such as soy beans and spent grains, into hydrogel, helping limit the world's food waste. Compared to conventional bandages, the organo-hydrogel bandages are also able to keep wound areas cooler and moist, which can help accelerate healing.

The researchers claim that using waste materials and yeast for the antimicrobial bandages is more cost effective than the production of conventional bandages, whose antimicrobial properties come from more expensive metallic compounds like silver or copper ions.

Credit: Travis Teo

Credit: Travis Teo

A single, brave Durian trader can smell . . I mean sell as much as 1800 kilograms of fruit during a season. And there are plenty of brave traders in Singapore! With more than half of that weight being discarded as a waste, this innovation can suddenly make for better profits and more sustainable Durian farming.

Have you tried Durian? Describe what it's like.

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Comments (8)

  • Nice research! I have tried Durian, and it was extremely sweet. I only had one bite. I bought it already clean, just the pulp and it didn't have a strong smell because it was not ripe.

      1 month ago
    • Ahemmm . . so there's a tactical way to experience it! Very useful information, thank you for that 😊

        1 month ago
    • I learned that in Chinatown neighborhood in NYC. They told me only use young Durian, it is not as smelly as when it is riped yet it is still sweet. They remove the shell with extraordinary speed, cut the pulp and put them in plastic containers....

      Read more
        1 month ago
  • Cool! The conventional ones are super expensive as well, perhaps these would be more affordable. I'm beginning to wonder if the rinds would have potential as pest deterrents in fields? Though they may then be worker deterrents as well...

      1 month ago
    • They are "all-living-deterrent" 😂😂😂 They don't mention adding ethanol-based solutions in the gel, so the assumption is that Durian deters bacteria as well, even though they don't posses noses 😂

        1 month ago
  • The only thing I want more than to try durian at this point is to smell it - it's legend.

      1 month ago
  • Never had it.

      30 days ago
  • Nope I have not tried it!

      29 days ago
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