Research has shown that disposed aloe vera peels can be used as a natural insecticide to safeguard staple foods from insects.
Dr. Debasish Bandyopadhyay, a physiologist at the University of Calcutta, and his colleagues showed how aloe vera peels can act as a natural insecticide, staving off insects from crops such as maize or millet.
“We proved that aloe vera rinds’ derived extracts act as a feeding deterrent and eventually kill agricultural pests,” Bandyopadhyay told SciDev.Net.
“Insects avoid aloe peels as they may be harmed or killed by natural substances contained in aloe peels, phytochemicals, that are toxic to them. Exposure to these compounds can cause discomfort, illness or even disruptions in an insect’s ability to travel, eat and reproduce,” he explained.
The research identified six non toxic compounds with insecticidal properties that could be used in making aloe-peel-based insecticides.
The scientist will be conducting real-world field tests against agricultural pests to see how the aloe insecticide works in real world testing.
“By creating an insecticide that avoids hazardous and poisonous synthetic chemicals, we can greatly help the agricultural field,” said Bandyopadhyay.
Recycling the peels into a natural pesticide could help African farmers safeguard their crops from insect attacks.
While aloe vera gel is harnessed across the world for use in an industry valued at $2.46 billion, its peels are often discarded.
“It’s likely that millions of tons of aloe peels are disposed of globally every year,” said Bandyopadhyay, the project’s principal investigator. “We have however shown that this can be recycled in a meaningful and more sustainable way.”
The breakthrough could also create an additional income stream for aloe vera producers.