MU Researcher Uncovers 'Green' Gold Nanoparticle Method

A new method, created by a University of Missouri research team, eliminates any negative environmental impact of gold nanoparticles, which are used in cancer treatments, cell phones, and hydrogen gas production.

The research was published recently in the journal Small.

"I have always believed that nature is smarter and stronger than humankind," said Kattesh Katti, professor of radiology and physics in MU's School of Medicine and College of Arts and Science, senior research scientist at the MU Research Reactor, and director of the MU Cancer Nanotechnology Platform. "This new procedure to create nanoparticles is wonderfully simple, yet it will help create very complex components. There is so much to learn from energy generation, chemical and photochemical reactions of plants."

Katti and his research team have formed Greennano Co., which is in the beginning stages of producing environmentally friendly gold nanoparticles. The company will focus on the development, commercialization, and worldwide supply of gold nanoparticles for medical and technological applications. Katti believes that because of this new process to produce the nanoparticles, researchers are developing other ways to use them.

The MU research team, which was led by Katti, Raghuraman Kannan, and Kavita Katti, found that by submersing gold salts in water and then adding soybeans, gold nanoparticles were generated. The water pulls a phytochemical out of the soybean that is effective in reducing the gold to nanoparticles. A second phytochemical from the soybean, also pulled out by the water, interacts with the nanoparticles to stabilize them and keep them from fusing with the particles nearby. This process creates nanoparticles that are uniform in size in a 100-percent green process. No toxic waste is generated.

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