Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Edible Nanostructures

This simple recipe can be followed to make all-natural metal-organic frameworks.
This simple recipe can be followed to make all-natural metal-organic frameworks.

Abstract:
Compounds made from renewable materials could be used for gas storage, food technologies

By Megan Fellman

Edible Nanostructures

Evanston, IL | Posted on September 3rd, 2010

Sugar, salt, alcohol and a little serendipity led a Northwestern University research team to discover a new class of nanostructures that could be used for gas storage and food and medical technologies. And the compounds are edible.

The porous crystals are the first known all-natural metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) that are simple to make. Most other MOFs are made from petroleum-based ingredients, but the Northwestern MOFs you can pop into your mouth and eat, and the researchers have.

"They taste kind of bitter, like a Saltine cracker, starchy and bland," said Ronald A. Smaldone, a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern. "But the beauty is that all the starting materials are nontoxic, biorenewable and widely available, offering a green approach to storing hydrogen to power vehicles."

Smaldone is co-first author of a paper about the edible MOFs published by Angewandte Chemie. The study is slated to appear on the cover of one of the journal's November issues.

"With our accidental discovery, chemistry in the kitchen has taken on a whole new meaning," said Sir Fraser Stoddart, Board of Trustees Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern. The implications of what Sir Fraser refers to as "Bob's your uncle chemistry" go all the way from cleaner air to healthier living, and it all comes from a product that can be washed down the sink.

Stoddart led the research group that included a trio of postdoctoral fellows in chemistry at Northwestern and colleagues from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of St. Andrews in the U.K.

Metal-organic frameworks are well-ordered, lattice-like crystals. The nodes of the lattices are metals (such as copper, zinc, nickel or cobalt), and organic molecules connect the nodes. Within their very roomy pores, MOFs can effectively store gases such as hydrogen or carbon dioxide, making the nanostructures of special interest to engineers as well as scientists.

"Using natural products as building blocks provides a new direction for an old technology," said Jeremiah J. Gassensmith, a postdoctoral fellow in Stoddart's lab and an author of the paper.

"The metal-organic framework technology has been around since 1999 and relies on chemicals that come from crude oil," explained Ross S. Forgan, also a postdoctoral fellow in Stoddart's lab and co-first author of the paper. "Our main constituent is a starch molecule that is a leftover from corn production."

For their edible MOFs, the researchers use not ordinary table sugar but gamma-cyclodextrin, an eight-membered sugar ring produced from biorenewable cornstarch. The salts can be potassium chloride, a common salt substitute, or potassium benzoate, a commercial food preservative, and the alcohol is the grain spirit Everclear.

With these ingredients in hand, the researchers actually had set out to make new molecular architectures based on gamma-cyclodextrin. Their work produced crystals. Upon examining the crystals' structures using X-rays, the researchers were surprised to discover they had created metal-organic frameworks -- not an easy feat using natural products.

"Symmetry is very important in metal-organic frameworks," Stoddart said. "The problem is that natural building blocks are generally not symmetrical, which seems to prevent them from crystallizing as highly ordered, porous frameworks."

It turns out gamma-cyclodextrin solves the problem: it comprises eight asymmetrical glucose residues arranged in a ring, which is itself symmetrical. The gamma-cyclodextrin and potassium salt are dissolved in water and then crystallized by vapor diffusion with alcohol.

The resulting arrangement -- crystals consisting of cubes made from six gamma-cyclodextrin molecules linked in three-dimensions by potassium ions -- was previously unknown. The research team believes this strategy of marrying symmetry with asymmetry will carry over to other materials.

The cubes form a porous framework with easily accessible pores, perfect for capturing gases and small molecules. The pore volume encompasses 54 percent of the solid body.

"We achieved this level of porosity quickly and using simple ingredients," Smaldone said. "Creating metal-organic frameworks using petroleum-based materials, on the other hand, can be expensive and very time consuming."

Stoddart added, "It is both uplifting and humbling to come to terms with the fact that a piece of serendipity could have far-reaching consequences for energy storage and environmental remediation on the one hand and food quality control and health care on the other."

The National Science Foundation and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (U.K.) supported the research.

The title of the paper is "Metal-Organic Frameworks from Edible Natural Products." In addition to Stoddart, Smaldone, Forgan and Gassensmith, other authors of the paper are Hiroyasu Furukawa and Omar M. Yaghi, from UCLA, and Alexandra M. Z. Slawin, from the University of St. Andrews.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Megan Fellman

Copyright © Northwestern University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Atomic imperfections move quantum communication network closer to reality June 25th, 2017

Research accelerates quest for quicker, longer-lasting electronics: UC Riverside-led research makes topological insulators magnetic well above room temperatures June 25th, 2017

U.S. Air Force Research Lab Taps IBM to Build Brain-Inspired AI Supercomputing System: Equal to 64 million neurons, new neurosynaptic supercomputing system will power complex AI tasks at unprecedented speed and energy efficiency June 23rd, 2017

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Atomic imperfections move quantum communication network closer to reality June 25th, 2017

Research accelerates quest for quicker, longer-lasting electronics: UC Riverside-led research makes topological insulators magnetic well above room temperatures June 25th, 2017

U.S. Air Force Research Lab Taps IBM to Build Brain-Inspired AI Supercomputing System: Equal to 64 million neurons, new neurosynaptic supercomputing system will power complex AI tasks at unprecedented speed and energy efficiency June 23rd, 2017

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Possible Futures

Atomic imperfections move quantum communication network closer to reality June 25th, 2017

Research accelerates quest for quicker, longer-lasting electronics: UC Riverside-led research makes topological insulators magnetic well above room temperatures June 25th, 2017

U.S. Air Force Research Lab Taps IBM to Build Brain-Inspired AI Supercomputing System: Equal to 64 million neurons, new neurosynaptic supercomputing system will power complex AI tasks at unprecedented speed and energy efficiency June 23rd, 2017

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Academic/Education

Oxford Instruments congratulates Lancaster University for inaugurating the IsoLab, built for studying quantum systems June 20th, 2017

The 2017 Winners for Generation Nano June 8th, 2017

MIT Energy Initiative awards 10 seed fund grants for early-stage energy research May 4th, 2017

Bar-Ilan University to set up quantum research center May 1st, 2017

Nanomedicine

Researchers developed nanoparticle based contrast agent for dual modal imaging of cancer June 21st, 2017

Learning with light: New system allows optical “deep learning”: Neural networks could be implemented more quickly using new photonic technology June 12th, 2017

Mussels add muscle to biocompatible fibers: Rice University chemists develop hydrogel strings using compound found in sea creatures June 9th, 2017

Making vessels leaky on demand could aid drug delivery:Rice University scientists use magnets and nanoparticles to open, close gaps in blood vessels June 8th, 2017

Discoveries

Atomic imperfections move quantum communication network closer to reality June 25th, 2017

Research accelerates quest for quicker, longer-lasting electronics: UC Riverside-led research makes topological insulators magnetic well above room temperatures June 25th, 2017

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Enhanced photocatalytic activity by Cu2O nanoparticles integrated H2Ti3O7 nanotubes June 21st, 2017

Announcements

Atomic imperfections move quantum communication network closer to reality June 25th, 2017

Research accelerates quest for quicker, longer-lasting electronics: UC Riverside-led research makes topological insulators magnetic well above room temperatures June 25th, 2017

U.S. Air Force Research Lab Taps IBM to Build Brain-Inspired AI Supercomputing System: Equal to 64 million neurons, new neurosynaptic supercomputing system will power complex AI tasks at unprecedented speed and energy efficiency June 23rd, 2017

Rice U. chemists create 3-D printed graphene foam June 22nd, 2017

Food/Agriculture/Supplements

New technology could offer cheaper, faster food testing: Specialized droplets interact with bacteria and can be analyzed using a smartphone April 7th, 2017

Meta-lenses bring benchtop performance to small, hand-held spectrometer: Game-changing nanostructure-based lenses allow smaller devices, increased functionality February 9th, 2017

PCATDES Starts Field Testing of Photocatalytic Reactors in South East Asia December 28th, 2016

News from Quorum: The Agricultural Research Service of the USDA uses a Quorum Cryo-SEM preparation system for the study of mites, ticks and other soft bodied organisms November 22nd, 2016

Environment

Enhanced photocatalytic activity by Cu2O nanoparticles integrated H2Ti3O7 nanotubes June 21st, 2017

Can crab shells provide a 'green' solution to malaria? Study shows how a mixture of chitin and silver nanoparticles inhibits growth of mosquito larvae May 12th, 2017

NanoMONITOR shares its latest developments concerning the NanoMONITOR Software and the Monitoring stations April 21st, 2017

Wood filter removes toxic dye from water April 21st, 2017

Energy

Tiny bubbles provide tremendous propulsion in new microparticles research-Ben-Gurion U. June 21st, 2017

Enhanced photocatalytic activity by Cu2O nanoparticles integrated H2Ti3O7 nanotubes June 21st, 2017

Cambridge Nanotherm partners with Inabata for global sales and distribution June 20th, 2017

Development of low-dimensional nanomaterials could revolutionize future technologies June 15th, 2017

Automotive/Transportation

Leti’s Autonomous-Vehicle System Embedded in Infineon’s AURIX Platform: Leti’s Low-Power, Multi-Sensor System that Transforms Distance Data into Clear Information About the Driving Environment Will Be Demonstrated at ITS Meeting in Strasbourg, June 19-22 June 20th, 2017

Development of low-dimensional nanomaterials could revolutionize future technologies June 15th, 2017

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Launches 7nm ASIC Platform for Data Center, Machine Learning, and 5G Networks FX-7TM offering leverages the company’s 7nm: FinFET process to deliver best in class IP and Solutions June 13th, 2017

Leti Announces Two New Tools for Improving Transportation Comfort, Safety and Efficiency: Wearable Device Measures Stress Responses for Travelers, Pilots and Truck Drivers, While Smartphone App Provides Transit Agencies Broad Data on Transport Modes June 13th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project