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Garlic and Heavy Metal

12 Dec 2012

Garlic has a long-standing reputation for its human health benefits. Could it also help the environment? Research published in the International Journal of Environment and Pollution suggests that it might.

The research was carried out by a team from GGS Indraprastha University in Delhi, India. The team investigated whether waste from the industrial processing of onion and garlic could help to remove contaminants such as heavy metal residues from industrial waste. The objective was to try and produce a "biological heavy metal filter for industrial-scale decontamination".

Onion and garlic were used because both are members of the allium family. The allium biomass waste absorbs certain heavy metals from the waste. Nitric acid is then applied to release the heavy metals - allowing the biomass filter to be reused.

The results were positive, especially for lead - normally a difficult contaminant to clean. The researchers concluded:

"The technique appears to be industrially applicable and viable [...] This may provide an affordable, environmental friendly and low maintenance technology for small and medium scale industries in developing countries"



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