UNIPORT Researchers Record Feat In Use Of Fluted Pumpkin Waste

Pumpkin ResearchResearchers in the University of Port Harcourt have made a major breakthrough with the use of locally-sourced fluted pumpkin waste in removing metals that endanger the ecosystem and humans.

This disclosure was made by the lead researcher, Professor Michael Horsfall of the Department of Pure and Industrial Chemistry, in an interview with UNIPORT Weekly. Professor Horsfall who specializes on the absorption of heavy metals from industrial effluents, using waste materials, said that the Research Group named Absorption Group, made up of Scientists such as Professors Ayebaemi Spiff and Augustus Abia, Dr. Timi Tara and himself have been engaged in the promising study aimed at turning waste to wealth for over a decade.

Professor Horsfall said that the major breakthrough carried out in the University of Laplata, Argentina would help the Nigerian economy.  The researchers are concentrating their effort on the conversion of corn, cassava, fluted pumpkin wastes, amongst market wastes to generate employment and wealth. “These wastes are converted into activated carbon known to have pore sizes capable of removing their metals”, he stated, stressing that some of the waste materials constitute a nuisance to the environment, which if properly utilized, according to him, would become useful to society.

Professor Horsfall said that “we convert wastes to activated cabana and use them to treat industrial effluents.  Our work shows that activated carbons from cassava peels, fluted pumpkin stem water, water hyacinth, water spinach, are comparable to those of communally-activated carbon that is imported”, calling on government and industries to partner the University to explore production of activated carbon from waste materials to useful commodities”.

He said that most of the wastes found in the market place could generate wealth for the nation.  “In advanced countries, the activated carbon plant employs thousands of people.  It means that the market is here.  If government will look inwards and stop importation of activated carbon, we are capable of advancing the concept of how to convert waste to wealth”, he said.

Professor Horsfall, who said that his Research Fellowship at the Royal Society of Chemistry is on arsenic in seafood in the Niger Delta, added that due to the toxic nature of heavy metals to the environment, it is necessary for those metals not to be atoned to fit into the soil, “What we are looking at is to find natural ways of reducing metals before they get into the environment and endanger human”, he stated.

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