Scientists at the University of Missouri have discovered a way to create gold nanoparticles using only a tasty and powerful kitchen spice - cinnamon.
As nanotechnology evolves, so too does the need for a green alternative for the production of things like gold nanoparticles, which can be used to treat cancer and are found in both consumer electronics and pharmaceuticals. The "standard" method for making gold nanoparticles involves the use of acids and toxic chemicals, many of which have impurities and leave behind unsavory residues in the environment. Though the items being produced are "nano" in scope, the heightened production of such particles has raised concerns over the potential pollution problems posed by such creation methods.
Now, a team led by Professor Kattesh Katti, considered to be the father of green nanotechnology, has discovered a way to make viable gold nanoparticles using nothing but cinnamon. By stirring gold salts in a mixture of water and cinnamon, Katti's team was able to produce gold nanoparticles with zero environmental impact.
What's more, when the cinnamon combined with the gold salts, active chemicals in the cinnamon called "phytochemicals" were released, which could be combined with the nanoparticles to detect and eliminate cancer cells.
According to Katti, "Our gold nanoparticles are not only ecologically and biologically benign, they also are biologically active against cancer cells", making them a win-win for both science and the environment.
Nanotechnology is in many respects still in its infancy, but scientists such as Katti are hoping to ensure that does more to help the human race than harm the environment, and these cinnamon-scented nanoparticles may go a long way to assisting in that goal.