photo by Maja Czarnecka
Students from Poland created a vegan skin
Industrial Biotechnology students at the International Education Center at the Lodz University of Technology have developed a material based on apples, which is vegan skin. They called it Appleather. They will present the effects of their work in October.
Maja Czarnecka, Julia Dzierżanowska, Jakub Jędrasik and Erfan Tabandeh under the supervision of dr hab. Eng. Małgorzata Bryszewska, took up a project whose main idea was to transform leftover fruit into leather-like material. The aim of the scientists’ activities was to create leather without the use of plastics and polymers, entirely made of ecological, biodegradable materials, and biomass. Why were apples chosen? According to data collected by students, in the 2020/2021 season, the annual global production of apples was estimated at 76.1 million tonnes. 75% of these are squeezed and the rest are harvested as apple pulp. It is from them that you can get apple powder, used in the production of bio-leather. The analyzes carried out by the researchers show that the apple skin contains the addition of polymers. This means that the material is not fully ecological. In order to create a vegan skin that is completely biodegradable, students were looking for polymer substitutes. And so, the idea was born to use bacterial cellulose for this purpose. To check the durability of the new material, scientists made a card holder. After more than a month of using the prototype, no deterioration in its functional characteristics was noticed.