Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Using Proteins To Develop Nanoparticles To Aid In Environmental Remediation

Date:
September 2, 2004
Source:
Temple University
Summary:
Researchers at Temple University are using protein structures to design and assemble metal oxide nanoparticles that could be used in environmental remediation.

Researchers at Temple University are using protein structures to design and assemble metal oxide nanoparticles that could be used in environmental remediation.

They will present their research, "Inorganic nanoparticles synthesized from biological precursors as nanocatalysts for environmental applications," at the 228th American Chemical Society national meeting, Aug. 22-26, in Philadelphia.

The researchers have been exploring how these nanoparticles can be used in environmental remediation, such as helping to transform toxic metals in lakes, rivers or streams, and in groundwater for easier cleanup. "The protein we use to make these particles is ferritin, which is a protein we carry around in our blood," says Daniel R. Strongin, Ph.D., professor of chemistry at Temple. "It's an iron storage protein, so if there's extra iron in our blood, it typically gets stored in ferritin. Then, when our body needs iron, the ferritin releases what has been stored."

Strongin and his collaborators, Hazel Ann Hosein, a doctoral student in chemistry at Temple, and Trevor Douglas, an associate professor of chemistry at Montana State University, have been loading horse spleen ferritin with iron in the laboratory to create the nanoparticles. By varying the amount of iron they load, they can vary the size of the particles.

"For example, there are certain oxidation states that would make the metals precipitate in solution, or fall out of solution so they can't be carried downstream or by groundwater," explains Strongin. "In one case, we've been looking at the reduction of toxic Chromium-6 (or hexavalent chromium), one that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has on their toxic metal list for groundwater."

By applying the nanoparticles to Chromium-6, and with the aid of visible light or solar radiation to activate the particles-the particles are photocatalytic-the researchers were able to reduce the chromium from hexavalent to trivalent, which is insoluble in water.

"Trivalent chromium is much easier to clean," says Strongin. "You can filter it much more easily in this state."

Strongin says that their results have been encouraging enough that the researchers believe that the nanoparticles they are creating could have an impact on other toxic metals, such as Technetium-7, which is a problem at the nuclear waste site in the state of Washington.

"These large canisters of nuclear waste have been sitting there since the 1940s and '50s, and they are slowly leaking," he says. "People are worried about it getting into the groundwater. But we believe that this method of using nanoparticles could play a role in preventing the spread in groundwater and help facilitate cleaning it up."

Strongin says the researchers are attempting to do chemistry with these nanoparticles that could not otherwise be done with larger bulk materials.

"We have a pretty novel approach in using proteins to assemble these particles," he says. "Nature does this, and we're just harnessing that ability."

Funding for this research was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the American Chemical Society.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Temple University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Temple University. "Researchers Using Proteins To Develop Nanoparticles To Aid In Environmental Remediation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 September 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040901090324.htm>.
Temple University. (2004, September 2). Researchers Using Proteins To Develop Nanoparticles To Aid In Environmental Remediation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040901090324.htm
Temple University. "Researchers Using Proteins To Develop Nanoparticles To Aid In Environmental Remediation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040901090324.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) — For months California has suffered from a historic drought. The lack of water is worrying for farmers and ranchers, but for gold diggers it’s a stroke of good fortune. With water levels low, normally inaccessible areas are exposed. Duration: 01:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — With only three weeks until Minnesota's fishing opener, many are wondering if the ice will be gone. Some of the Northland lakes are still covered by up to three feet of ice, causing concern that just like last year, the lakes won't be ready. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nasa Gives You An Excuse to Post a Selfie on Earth Day

Nasa Gives You An Excuse to Post a Selfie on Earth Day

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) — NASA is inviting all social media users to take a selfie of themselves alongside nature and to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, or Google Plus with the hashtag #globalselfie. NASA's goal is to crowd-source a collection of snapshots of the earth, ground-up, that will be used to create one "unique mosaic of the Blue Marble." This image will be available to all in May. Since this is probably one of the few times posting a selfie to Twitter won't be embarrassing, we suggest you give it a go for a good cause. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins