Nanoparticles derived from green mango peel could be the key to remediating oil sludge in contaminated soil.
For industry oil sludge is an expensive and longstanding challenge, and figures show between 3% and 7% of oil processing activities are irreversibly lost as waste from sludge.
Left untreated oil contamination in soil can present an environmental risk and impact local ecosystems, and while there has been investment and improvements in the oil refinery processes and more broadly control technologies, refineries and upstream operations are continuing to generate large volumes of oil sludge.
However mango nanoparticles, which are synthesised from green mango peel extract and iron chloride, could hold the answer to effectively treating oil contaminated soil.
The nanoparticles work by breaking down toxins in oil sludge through chemical oxidation, leaving behind only the decontaminated materials and dissolved iron.
University of South Australia lead researcher Dr Biruck Desalegn found that the new plant-based nanoparticles can successfully decontaminate oil-polluted soil, removing more than 90% of toxins.
"Plant extracts are increasingly used to create nanomaterials," Desalegn said.
"In this study we experimented with mango peel to create zerovalent iron nanoparticles which have the ability to breakdown various organic contaminants.
"With mango peel being such a rich source of bioactive compounds, it made sense that zerovalent iron made from mango peel might be more potent in the oxidation process," he said.
Desalegn discovered, the mango peel iron nanoparticles worked extremely well, even outperforming a chemically synthesized counterpart by removing more of contaminants in the oil sludge.