ESTATE CROPS NEWS – Sponge widely used in many purposes is a synthetic product made of polyurethane polymer, where the polyurethane material is one of derivative products of petroleum which is being dwindled. In addition, the synthetic sponge is difficult to degrade naturally that may contaminate the environment.
Bestru plant (Luffa aegyptica) from ancient times known as a producer of natural sponges used to clean the body and wash the dishes.
Currently in some developed countries like the United States, Canada, Japan, and India, natural sponges have been used as engine filters, sound absorbent, mats, table clothes, mattress and pillow filler, chairs, slippers, baby shoes, ironing pads, caps, and other more valuable items.
Therefore, bestru that grows well in almost all parts of Indonesia is potential plant to produce renewable raw material for sponges and very prospective to be developed. There are Compared to synthetic spone, natural sponge has several advantages : renewable, environmentally friendly (because it is easily decomposed), and a guarantee in raw material supply.
Image : Bestru fruits and trees (Luffa aegyptica) a) leaves, b) flower, c) fruit, d) a dry bestru sponge, e) cross-section of bestru sponge, and f) seeds.