Tag Archives: amino acids

Molecular Baskets Swallow, Trap And Remove Toxic Compounds

Researchers have developed designer molecules that may one day be able to seek out and trap deadly nerve agents and other toxic compounds in the environment – and possibly in humans.

The scientists, led by organic chemists from The Ohio State University, call these new particlesmolecular baskets.” As the name implies, these molecules are shaped like baskets and research in the lab has shown they can find simulated nerve agents, swallow them in their cavities and trap them for safe removal.

In a new study published in Chemistry – A European Journal, the researchers took the first step in creating versions that could have potential for use in medicine.

Our goal is to develop nanoparticles that can trap toxic compounds not only in the environment, but also from the human body,” said Jovica Badjić, leader of the project and professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Ohio State.

The research focuses on nerve agents, sometimes called nerve gas, which are deadly chemical poisons that have been used in warfare.

In a study published last year in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Badjić and his colleagues created molecular baskets with amino acids around the rims. These amino acids helped find simulated nerve agents in a liquid environment and direct them into the basket.

Source:  https://news.osu.edu/

Nanoparticles Fom Tea Leaves Destroy 80% Of Lung Cancer Cells

Nanoparticles derived from tea leaves inhibit the growth of lung cancer cells, destroying up to 80% of them, new research by a joint Swansea University (UK) and Indian team has shown. The team made the discovery while they were testing out a new method of producing a type of nanoparticle called quantum dots.  These are tiny particles which measure less than 10 nanometres.  A human hair is 40,000 nanometres thick.

Although nanoparticles are already used in healthcare, quantum dots have only recently attracted researchers’ attention.  Already they are showing promise for use in different applications, from computers and solar cells to tumour imaging and treating cancerQuantum dots can be made chemically, but this is complicated and expensive and has toxic side effects.  The Swansea-led research team were therefore exploring a non-toxic plant-based alternative method of producing the dots, using tea leaf extract.

Tea leaves contain a wide variety of compounds, including polyphenols, amino acids, vitamins and antioxidants.   The researchers mixed tea leaf extract with cadmium sulphate (CdSO4) and sodium sulphide (Na2S) and allowed the solution to incubate, a process which causes quantum dots to form.   They then applied the dots to lung cancer cells. Tea leaves are a simpler, cheaper and less toxic method of producing quantum dots, compared with using chemicals, confirming the results of other research in the field. Quantum dots produced from tea leaves inhibit the growth of lung cancer cells.  They penetrated into the nanopores of the cancer cells and destroyed up to 80% of them.  This was a brand new finding, and came as a surprise to the team.

The research, published in “Applied Nano Materials”, is a collaborative venture between Swansea University experts and colleagues from two Indian universities.

Source: http://www.swansea.ac.uk/