Bio-paper bags and organic fertilizers from the banana tree trunk of Biotechnology student to consumers' hands

(VLU - February 1, 2021)Anh Bao, Nhat Ha, Lan Anh, Tuyet Ngan - students of Biotechnology have first succeeded in producing bio-paper bags and organic fertilizers. In the future, the project will aim at a professional production model, creating good paper products and cooked-food packages to serve consumers.

On this Tet holiday, members of the research team include Huynh Anh Bao (Term 23), Pham Thi Nhat Ha (Term 23), Nguyen Ngoc Lan Anh (Term 23), Cao Nguyen Tuyet Ngan (Term 22) (Majors of Biotechnology, Van Lang University) has a lot of good news. The research project of producing bio-paper bags and organic fertilizers from banana stalks was unexpectedly successful. In November 2020, the project won the Consolation prize for the Euréka 2020 Science Research Student Contest, media teams continuously contacted them for interviews.

The first "huge order" was the Faculty of Fine Arts and Design (Van Lang University) with 10,000 drawing papers for students. Some other businesses have also asked for cooperation to finance the project.

And from here on, great fun begins ...

vlu bio paper bags aPaper bags from banana tree trunks made by Anh Bao, Nhat Ha, Lan Anh, Tuyet Ngan are now ordered by many people.


From the passionate heart of a researcher

It is not wrong to say that the Faculty of Technology Lab is the second home of the group, when all of the team has spent most of their time after school discussing and studying the concentration of bag-making substances for over 2 years.

At the end of 2018, the group started to implement the project thanks to the encouragement from Dr. Vu Thi Quyen, Head of Biotechnology. She said: “Bananas are familiar plants with Vietnamese villages. If we know how to make use of it, all parts bring value to people. But farmers often leave banana stalks in the garden after cutting the chamber to decompose on its own. That makes pests easy to spread, disturbs farming methods, affects rice yield. It is very meaningful when they have researched and found a method to make paper bags and organic fertilizers from banana stalks.”

vlu bio paper bags b Dr. Vu Thi Quyen and her team spend most of their time in the lab producing organic fertilizers and paper bags.

In the early days, they went everywhere asking for banana stalks to test. “One day we drove a motorbike to Vung Tau, went to the garden to ask for banana stalks of farmers, and then back to the city. Because I love to do it.” Bao said.

Next the members diligently launched a bio-paper bag entirely by hand, from choosing banana trunks, splitting, crushing, drying, chopping, soaking with bleach solution, boiling, grinding, pouring into molds to the processing, drawing, folding formed bags.

At the start of the project, the group had nearly 10 members. Later on, some of them gradually gave up; the remaining 4 members are still going along. Lan Anh said: “We still tell each other to try to make good products that help everyone. I will be very proud of what I do. That is the motivation for the group to continue to do the project."

vlu bio paper bags cOne corner of the lab where the group dried the paper bags with the right temperature conditions

Proud of her students, Dr. Vu Thi Quyen said "I appreciate their hard working spirit, especially their passion for research to achieve results".


... to the project of commercialization for the community

With the banana sheath outside, the group has made organic paper bags capable of self-decomposition with a certain toughness, the price ranges from 6,000 - 21,000 VND / bag. In addition, the group also takes advantage of the inner body to make organic fertilizer according to the standards of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development at the price of 2,500 VND / bag.

vlu bio paper bags d(From left): Huynh Anh Bao, Cao Nguyen Tuyet Ngan, Pham Thi Nhat Ha, Nguyen Ngoc Lan Anh received consolation prizes for the Euréka 2020 Science Research Student Contest.

However, with large orders, the group needs to use machines instead of manual bag production. “To have the right price, it is necessary to upgrade equipment and machines, not just the current manual production. When doing research in a university, students have to accept to do it manually, then find ways to upgrade step by step”, Dr. Vu Thi Quyen said.

With initial success, the team has started receiving offers from businesses and they have been in consideration. According to their opinions, when applying machinery and equipment, it is necessary to choose appropriate methods to ensure the characteristics of organic products, not industrial products.

vlu bio paper bags eThe group hopes the handcrafted banana stem shredding and crushing will soon be replaced by machines in the future.

Lan Anh said “In addition to the project of producing organic packaging paper bags, in the near future the group will research to produce paper products in fine arts and gift wrapping paper. The most important thing is food wrapping paper - this paper is not as simple as another paper because it must meet all food industry standards”.

After the initial results, the group still has many projects working with banana trees, because of the nutritional value that the banana tree brings, the value of raw materials, fiber for the livestock industry, including the handicraft industry. All products made from banana stalks are biodegradable in the environment.

New horizons are still waiting for them to continue to explore, combining theoretical learning, practical application and inspiring the spirit of perseverance, bringing love to the major to those around them.

On this journey, they have found the beauty of science as the path of the female scientist Marie Curie: “The scientist in the laboratory is not just a technician: He is also a child, placing himself in the natural phenomena that impress him like a fairy tale ”.

Written by: Hong Ngan
Photo: Minh Phuong
Translated by: Oanh Doan


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