A University of Missouri researcher says it's possible to replace nearly all of the toxic chemicals required to make gold nanoparticles - with cinnamon.
Gold nanoparticles are used in electronics, healthcare products and as anti-cancer pharmaceuticals, but the process to make them requires some extremely toxic chemicals which could have a major environmental impact as the use of nanotechnology increases.
But UM curators' professor of radiology and physics Kattesh Katti says cinnamon can replace nearly all of these. His team simply stirred gold salts and cinnamon into water to synthesize gold nanoparticles. The process needs no toxic agents and doesn't even use any electricity.
The researchers found that active chemicals in cinnamon, known as phytochemicals, are released when the nanoparticles are created. When these phytochemicals are combined with the gold nanoparticles, they can be used for cancer treatment. They can enter into cancer cells and assist in both the destruction and the imaging of cancer cells, Katti claims.
"From our work in green nanotechnology, it is clear that cinnamon — and other species such as herbs, leaves and seeds — will serve as a reservoir of phytochemicals and has the capability to convert metals into nanoparticles," says Katti.
"Our gold nanoparticles are not only ecologically and biologically benign, they also are biologically active against cancer cells."
The research appears in Pharmaceutical Research.