Loofahs, which come from the ripened fruit of the loofah plant, have long been used for exfoliating skin, turning calloused feet soft like a baby’s behind. Now scientists are using this fibrous loofah plant in a microbial fuel cell (MFC) to treat waste and create electricity.
According to ACS.org, “Recently, researchers have turned to plant materials as a low-cost alternative, but pore size has still been an issue. Loofahs, which come from the fully ripened fruit of loofah plants, are commonly used as bathing sponges. They have very large pores, yet are still inexpensive. That’s why Zhou’s team decided to investigate their potential use in MFCs.
“When the scientists put nitrogen-enriched carbon nanoparticles on loofahs and loaded them with bacteria, the resulting MFC performed better than traditional MFCs. ‘This study introduces a promising method for the fabrication of high-performance anodes from low-cost, sustainable natural materials,’ the researchers state.”
Shungui Zhou and his colleagues figured it was no skin off their backs to try this new method. After poring over the scientific literature the researchers decided that loofahs are not only good at generating dead skin cells but generating electricity in fuel cells, as well.