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Indian team finds low cost way to disinfect garments
Scientists at India’s Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST) have found a low-cost way to disinfect garments carrying microbes. They have found a nanomaterial which kills microbes using visible light. The team will now explore its effectiveness as anti-viral agent, which may help fight Covid 19. The aim is to incorporate it in fabrics.
The new metal-free nanomaterial can be an alternative to silver and other metal-based materials.
The group led by Dr. Kamalakannan Kailasam has published the study in the journal Carbon. Dr. Asifkhan Shanavas collaborated in the research.
The team tested carbon nitride quantum dots (g-CNQDs) for visible-light-driven antibacterial activity and found it to be efficient, apart from being biocompatible with mammalian cells. The team has suggested it to be a viable anti-bacterial alternative to metal/non-metal semiconductors and expensive silver.
The scientists said that these nanomaterials possess enhanced biocidal activity due to larger surface area of g-CNQDs having more reactive sites and optical absorption both in the ultraviolet and visible region. The g-CNQDs have the ability to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS). The ROS rapidly interact and damage the immediately available biological macromolecules such as lipids and proteins, present on the cell membrane or envelope of microorganisms like bacteria, inactivating them.
Lipids and proteins are major components of membranes covering the microorganisms which cause diseases.
The team is now exploring ways of incorporating doped and undoped carbon nitride-based materials into cloth fabrics that can continuously produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) under optimal humidity and temperature for the antimicrobial activity.
Aerosol droplets generated during sneezing have enough moisture that might help in ROS mediated disinfection of any infectious agents in the droplet, once it comes into contact with the nanomaterial sewn fabric under sunlight or ambient white light exposure, according to scientists. In their study, they utilised a common table lamp which provides luminance comparable to sunlight on a clear day.
The dependence on visible light is advantageous over regular ultraviolet mediated disinfection, which requires cautious handling of the UV light-emitting devices.
This technology will also be explored for antiviral efficiency considering the current pandemic causes by Covid-19 virus.