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Breakthroughs in nanotechnology on edge of 'knowledge frontier'
Date:2/28/2008

COLUMBIA, Mo. University of Missouri scientist Kattesh Katti recently discovered how to make gold nanoparticles using gold salts, soybeans and water. Kattis research has garnered attention worldwide and the environmentally-friendly discovery could have major applications in several disciplines.

Gold nanoparticles are tiny pieces of gold, so small they cannot be seen by the naked eye. Researchers believe gold nanoparticles will be used in cancer detection and treatment, the production of smart electronic devices, the treatment of certain genetic eye diseases and the development of green automobiles.

While the nanotechnology industry is expected to produce large quantities of nanoparticles in the near future, researchers have been worried about the environmental impact of typical production methods. Commonly, nanoparticles have been produced using synthetic chemicals. Kattis process, which uses only naturally occurring elements, could have major environmental implications for the future. Since some of the chemicals currently used to make nanoparticles are toxic to humans, Kattis discovery also could open doors for additional medical fields. Having a 100-percent natural green process could allow medical researchers to expand the use of the nanoparticles.

Typically, a producer must use a variety of synthetic or man-made chemicals to produce gold nanoparticles, said Katti, professor of radiology and physics in the School of Medicine and College of Arts and Science at MU, senior research scientist at the MU Research Reactor (MURR) and director of the University of Missouri Cancer Nanotechnology Platform. To make the chemicals necessary for production, you need to have other artificial chemicals produced, creating an even larger, negative environmental impact. Our new process only takes what nature has made available to us and uses that to produce a technology already proven to have far-reaching impacts in technology and medicine.

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Contact: Bryan E. Jones
jonesbry@missouri.edu
573-882-9144
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

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