Breakthroughs in nanotechnology on edge of 'knowledge frontier'

Feb 28, 2008

University of Missouri scientist Kattesh Katti recently discovered how to make gold nanoparticles using gold salts, soybeans and water. Katti’s 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. Katti’s 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, Katti’s 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.”

The new discovery has created a large positive response in the scientific community. Researchers from as far away as Germany have commented on the discovery’s importance and the impact it will have in the future.

“Dr. Katti’s discovery sets up the beginning of a new knowledge frontier that interfaces plant science, chemistry and nanotechnology,” said Herbert W. Roesky, a professor and world-renowned chemist from the University of Goettingen in Germany.

Katti and his long-time collaborator and colleague, Raghuraman Kannan, assistant professor of radiology, sowed the seeds of Nanomedicine at MU through their groundbreaking discoveries in 2004. MU now has an internationally recognized research program in nanomedicine. The research was funded by grants from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health.

Katti’s research in the field of nanomedicine, biomedicine, cancer diagnostics/therapeutics and optical imaging have earned him numerous awards and recognition. The latest honor bestowed upon Katti is the “Outstanding Missourian” award, which he will receive Tuesday, March 4 in Jefferson City. The award is presented as “acknowledgement of the most accomplished citizens of the state of Missouri” and for making an “outstanding contribution to his state or nation.” He is scheduled to receive the award at the beginning of the morning session of the Missouri House of Representatives.

In a recent interview, he expressed his gratefulness for the recognition, but attributes much of the credit to others, including his wife, Kavita Katti, who is a senior research chemist at MU, and his parents in India who supported him in his education.

“I feel excited about the recognition, and I attribute my selection to our institution, my research group and my collaborators,” Katti said. “This award is the culmination of several factors, including departmental leadership, a plethora of outstanding collaborators at MU, the deans and, of course, the chancellor. A faculty member could not possibly succeed just by his or her own efforts. We have been very blessed with this team effort. I am very excited to receive this recognition. I think it speaks highly of our school and of our nanomedicine program.”

Source: University of Missouri-Columbia

Explore further: Chemical vapor deposition used to grow atomic layer materials on top of each other

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tiny biomolecular tweezers studying force effect of cells

Apr 03, 2014

A new type of biomolecular tweezers could help researchers study how mechanical forces affect the biochemical activity of cells and proteins. The devices—too small to see without a microscope—use opposing ...

The promise and peril of nanotechnology

Mar 26, 2014

Scientists at Northwestern University have found a way to detect metastatic breast cancer by arranging strands of DNA into spherical shapes and using them to cover a tiny particle of gold, creating a "nano-flare" ...

Catching the early spread of breast cancer

Mar 19, 2014

When cancer spreads from one part of the body to another, it becomes even more deadly. It moves with stealth and can go undetected for months or years. But a new technology that uses "nano-flares" has the potential to catch ...

Recommended for you

Making 'bucky-balls' in spin-out's sights

11 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A new Oxford spin-out firm is targeting the difficult challenge of manufacturing fullerenes, known as 'bucky-balls' because of their spherical shape, a type of carbon nanomaterial which, like ...

Polymer microparticles could help verify goods

Apr 13, 2014

Some 2 to 5 percent of all international trade involves counterfeit goods, according to a 2013 United Nations report. These illicit products—which include electronics, automotive and aircraft parts, pharmaceuticals, ...

New light on novel additive manufacturing approach

Apr 11, 2014

(Phys.org) —For nearly a century, electrophoretic deposition (EPD) has been used as a method of coating material by depositing particles of various substances onto the surfaces of various manufactured items. ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.

Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain—evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.