NEXT GEN Column: Value added banana fibers products from agricultural waste.
In Thailand, bananas can be found growing everywhere. Some are for domestic consumption; others are to be exported. After harvesting, banana leftover is usually thrown away causing tons of agricultural waste, thus, Sopida Wisalsakkul, a lecturer and researcher from the Department of Creative Art, Faculty of Home Economics Technology had decided to conduct a research to turn banana leaf sheaf leftovers into banana fibers. This research is under the scheme of spatial management system development to enhance waste management efficiency and create added value products in Pathumthani with the support from Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi (RMUTT) funded by Thailand Science Research and Innovation (TSRI). Ms. Sopida revealed that banana fibers were considered to the strongest fiber of all-natural fibers while its salt water-resistant was also high. Nonetheless, its natural beauty having glossy look and yellowish was considered suitable for producing weaving products and product pattern making. They could also be used for making flat fiber used for sewing into mats that could eventually turned into other products such as notebook covers, bags, and tall flower vases. While “spherical fibers” were being woven into threads and then eventually woven into house-hold products such as baskets, jewelry, artificial flowers, etc. Noticeably, this type of fiber would enhance the strength, beauty, and glossiness of the product. She also added that development of weaving products from banana fibers was current in the middle of patent application procedure. Hopefully in the near future, the patent would be very beneficial for local enterprise of banana harvesters in terms of product quality and packaging that could reach the foreign export market. “One Banana” as a private company who dedicated to export banana products would be taken part in helping the community manufacturing and distribution.
“Development of banana fiber for woven products” research was one of the four selected work to present in the research competition including a research work on “Development of banana fibers in fashion, apparel and home textile (Bualuang Banana Fiber Dress)” by Asst. Prof. Dr. Sakorn Cholsakorn, Faculty of Home Economics Technology, “Development of bamboo composites from bamboo waste” by Asst. Prof. Dr. Sorapong Pawasupree, Faculty of Engineering, “Process development, and safety and quality improvement of pickled bamboo shoots” by Asst. Prof. Dr. Aranee Chotiko, Faculty of Science and Technology. This research had taken it part in research network agencies across the country and won a “Platinum Award”, Royal Trophy of Somdej Phra Kanittha Department of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Siam Boromrajakumari.