Volcanic activity in Indonesia sometimes causes eruptions accompanied by volcanic ash, which causes a decrease in air quality in the area around the mountain. The decrease in air quality by volcanic ash is caused by chemical gases such as CO, NO2, and SO2, so any long exposure to volcanic ash may cause acute respiratory infection (ARI). Unfortunately, the N95 masks that the public has used have not effectively filtered volcanic ash less than 300nm in size. In addition, the polymer content made from plastic in N95 masks is prone to waste that is difficult to degrade naturally. For this reason, Siti Mustika Ayu, Inten Widyaningrum, Dayu Arinda (chemistry study program), and Intan Tri Wahyuni and Keysa Havida Nugraha (biology education study program) developed environmentally friendly nanofiber masks that utilize bagasse waste using an enzymatic method.
"Every 1 ton of sugar cane will produce 100 kg of dry bagasse, which contains 40% cellulose content," said Siti Mustika Ayu. The cellulose content in bagasse can be used for the manufacture of nanofibers. Nanofiber, which has a surface size with dimensions between 1-100 nm, can be used to filter volcanic ash.
Keysa Havida Nugraha explained that the trial of making this mask was carried out at the Laboratory of Chemistry Education Department, FMIPA UNY for pre-treatment procedures and enzymatic methods and independent research conducted in Bantul to characterize the biodegradation of nanofibers. The materials used were bagasse, KOH, deionized water, acetate buffer, xylanase, tissue, old newspapers, 70% alcohol, ethanol, soil, and gauze. Bagasse nanofibers were hydrolyzed by an enzymatic method using xylanase enzyme with time variations of 12 hours, 24 hours, and 48 hours. "Further research is needed in the form of antimicrobial activity testing on bagasse cellulose nanofiber products in order to obtain a good mask product," said Keysa Havida Nugraha (Dedy, Tj.Lak)