- Category: Technology
30 Nov 2010
- Published on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 06:00
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By L.J. Polintan
Scientists at the University of Missouri used cinnamon to replace almost all toxic chemicals needed for making gold nanoparticles used in electronics and healthcare products.
Nanoparticle production requires the use of extremely dangerous and toxic chemicals. While the nanotechnology industry is expected to produce large quantities of useful nanoparticles in the near future, the entire production process could be detrimental to the environment.
Thus, the University of Missouri researchers created a method that no longer uses harmful chemicals to produce gold nanoparticles. They mixed gold salts with a common spice – cinnamon – and stirred the mixture in water to synthesize gold nanoparticles.
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“From our work in green nanotechnology, it is clear that cinnamon – and other species such as herbs, leaves and seeds – will serve as a reservoir of phytochemicals and has the capability to convert metals into nanoparticles,” explained Kattesh Katti, professor of radiology and physics in the School of Medicine and the College of Arts and Science.
Mr. Katti said the process is truly green because it uses no electricity and utilizes no other toxic chemicals.
The researchers found that active chemicals in cinnamon are released when the nanoparticles are created. When these chemicals, known as phytochemicals, are combined with the gold nanoparticles, they can even be used for cancer treatment, which was in fact among the focus of the study.
“Our gold nanoparticles are not only ecologically and biologically benign, they are also biologically active against cancer cells,” said Mr. Katti, who is also director of the Cancer Nanotechnology Platform.
Mr. Katti believes that green nanotechnology holds great potential in medicine, agricultural and life sciences. As more uses for nanotechnology are created, scientists must develop ways to establish the connection between nanotechnology and green science, he said.
The findings of the research project were published in Pharmaceutical Research.