Clean and Green

One man’s trash is another man’s…disinfectant?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Time for spring cleaning! Get out those sprays, scrubs and solvents! But all those chemicals – so toxic to us AND our environment! Is there a CLEANER way to CLEAN?

Fengbo Yu at Fudan University in Shanghai, and team found a SOLUTION – in sawdust!

Plants naturally produce antibacterial chemicals called phenols and ketones. And these can even be found in plant scraps, like sawdust! WOODEN it be great if that could be turned into a disinfectant?

The researchers mixed sawdust with water and heated it for an hour under high pressure. Then they separated the liquid from the solid plant goop. They mixed this bioliquid with germy microbes, then counted how many microbes survived.

Results? The sawdust solution killed OVER NINETY-NINE PERCENT of the germs! BONUS — it was non-toxic to animals, even WORMS!

Plant waste can be upcycled into a powerful and safe cleaning product. It’s good for your wallet AND the planet!

Now that’s what I call a power plant!

Reference: Yu, F., Zhao, W., Qin, T., Zhao, W., Chen, Y., Miao, X., Lin, L., Shang, H., Sui, G., Peng, D., Yang, Y., Zhu, Y., Zhang, S., & Zhu, X. (2022). Biosafety of human environments can be supported by effective use of renewable biomass. PNAS USA, 119(3), e2106843119.