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Father of ‘Green Nano’ Makes Gold Nanoparticles with Cinnamon

by Editor1 last modified November 29, 2010 - 13:15

A University of Missouri research team led by one of the founding fathers of ‘green nanotechnology’ reports it has uncovered a way to eliminate the toxic chemicals required to make gold nanoparticles. Their safer recipe replaces the hazardous materials with cinnamon, the common kitchen spice.

Father of ‘Green Nano’ Makes Gold Nanoparticles with Cinnamon

Dr. Kattesh Katti, one of the fathers of ‘green nanotechnology,’ works to create gold nanoparticles with cinnamon.

While gold nanoparticles have proven extremely useful for electronics, health care products and medicines, producing them requires harmful chemicals and acids that are a risk to human health and the environmentally. This situation prompted MU researchers to explore safer recipes for gold nanoparticles.

The project was led by Dr. Kattesh Katti, MU’s Curators' Professor of Radiology and Physics in the School of Medicine and the College of Arts and Science. He is also director of the Cancer Nanotechnology Platform, and considered one of the fathers of ‘green nanotechnology’

During the study, 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 be used for cancer treatment. The phytochemicals can enter into cancer cells and assist in the destruction or imaging of cancer cells, Katti said.

"Our gold nanoparticles are not only ecologically and biologically benign, they also are biologically active against cancer cells," Katti said.

The project mixed gold salts with cinnamon and stirred the mixture in water to synthesize gold nanoparticles. The new process uses no electricity and utilizes no toxic agents. "The procedure we have developed is non-toxic," Kannan said. "No chemicals are used in the generation of gold nanoparticles, except gold salts. It is a true 'green' process. 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," Dr. Katti added. 

Dr. Katti team was also comprised of Raghuraman Kannan, the Michael J and Sharon R. Bukstein Distinguished Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research and director of the Nanoparticle Production Core Facility; and Nripen Chanda, a research associate scientist.
As the list of applications for nanotechnology grows, the ecological implications of nanotechnology will also grow, the researchers said. "On one hand, you are trying to create a new, useful technology. However, continuing to ignore the environmental effects is detrimental to the progress," Kannan said.

Dr. Katti, who is the editor of The International Journal of Green Nanotechnology, said that as more uses for nanotechnology are created, scientists must develop ways to establish the connection between nanotechnology and green science. The study was published this fall in Pharmaceutical Research.