Aloe Vera, a longstanding natural remedy, has been known to skin health, wound healing and digestion benefits. Whereas the gel inside the plant is commonly utilized for these benefits, a recent study has shown that its peels that are always discarded have been found to possess insect-repelling properties, acting as a natural bug deterrent.
Researchers convert aloe vera peels into insecticide
The study’s principal investigator Debasish Bandyopadhyay said that there are millions of tons of peels disposed of each year and the study sought to establish a way of adding value and making them useful.
Bandyopadhyay and a colleague, conducted a visit to a local facility engaged in aloe vera production and made an intriguing observation whereby insects displayed a notable aversion to the aloe vera leaves, instead directing their attention towards other plant varieties.
Presently, a number of home gardeners have initiated the incorporation of aloe gel into their natural pesticide concoctions, often blending it with ingredients such as onions and garlic. However, it’s noteworthy that these formulations typically exclude the utilization of aloe peels. On a larger industrial scale, the aloe peels have conventionally been treated as surplus agricultural byproducts, finding occasional purpose in generating biomass aimed at enhancing soil quality within aloe farms.
Recycling aloe vera peels to make insecticides
Bandyopadhyay’s inspiration lies in investigating the conversion of peels into a natural insecticide through recycling. This innovation could be invaluable for farmers in insect-prone regions like Africa, the Americas, and certain parts of India. Additionally, it offers an eco-friendly peels disposal method and increased profits for aloe vera producers.
Researchers from the University Of Texas Rio Grande Valley preserved the plant bioactivity of aloe vera peels by drying them in the dark at room temperature. They created extracts using hexane, dichloromethane (DCM), methanol, and water. Initially, the hexane extract contained octacosane, effective against mosquitoes. However, newer experiments revealed that the DCM extract exhibited higher insecticidal activity against agricultural pests. Using chromatography-mass spectrometry, the team identified over 20 compounds in the aloe vera rinds that possess antifungal, antibacterial, and potential health benefits.