Bananas are a pretty powerful fruit and I don’t mean because they are high in potassium. Earlier this month, it was revealed in a report, featured in the American Chemical Society’s journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, that minced bananas can be used to purify water. Now, research presented at a meeting of the society shows that bananas, along with pineapples and possibly other plants, can also be used to build parts for automobiles.By using bananas, pineapples, or other delicate fruit fibers to reinforce plastics, researchers from Brazil found that petroleum and natural gas, which are traditionally used to make plastics, are not needed. In addition to being renewable, the new plastics are also three to four times stronger and 30% lighter which offers vehicles better fuel mileage due to the reduced weight of the car and better longevity due to their greater resistance to damage from heat, spilled gasoline, water, and oxygen. The nano-cellulose plant fibers used to reinforce the plastics are said to be super strong and almost as stiff as Kevlar, the material used in bullet-proof vests. Out of all the fruits, researchers found that pineapple leaves and stems offer the best nano-cellulose fibers.If there is a downside to the newly discovered technology it is that the process used to produce the renewable plastic is costly. The process consists of placing the plant fibers into a device equivalent to that of a pressure cooker. Over several cycles, chemicals are added to the plants while the mixture is heated. When completed, a fine material of nano-cellulose is produced that looks like talcum powder. The good news is that while the process is costly, it only takes one poind of nano-cellulose to produce 100 pounds of the new plastic material.Read more at the American Chemicals Society press release.