Elif Bilgin, a 16-year-old Turkish student, discovered that the starches and cellulose contained in a banana's outer layer can be used to create insulation for wires and to form medical prostheses. She developed a chemical process that turns the peels into a non-decaying bioplastic that she hopes will help replace the need for petroleum and combat pollution. Continue reading for a video and more information.
This discovery won her the top prize and $50,000 at the Scientific American Science in Action competition, as well as the honor of becoming a finalist in the Google Science Fair. Here's what she has to say: "For me, this means that my project actually has a potential to be a solution to the increasing pollution problem caused by petroleum-based plastic. It also means that I have started the process of changing the world, which makes me feel like a winner already."