Silver nanoparticles are extracted with arrowroot starch
UN/DICYT Arrowroot starch or achira as it is traditionally known in the south of Colombia, helps extract silver microparticles which when included in industrial products extend food useful life. One of the main challenges of agroindustrial engineers around the world is to preserve foods for longer periods of time without altering their flavor and odor (organoleptic qualities) and also preserving the healthfulness for the final consumer.
Therefore Agro-industrial Engineer Mónica Alejandra Rivera of the UNal-Palmira Environmental Prospective Research Group directed a research project using nanotechnology to include silver particles which improve food quality.
“For instance researchers have created plastic containers that can harbor these nanoparticles which also have important antibacterial features that help preserve and keep foods for more time,” said Rivera.
The main purpose of the project was focused on searching for a technology that would allow reducing silver particles with environmentally friendly and clean technologies.
“We used achira starch, a useful industrial polymer with properties that have not been fully exploited. Our objective was to take advantage of these characteristics to reduce silver particle size, because the smaller it is, properties will be greater,” said Rivera.
Achira starch is the key
Researchers used visible ultraviolet techniques to measure particle absorbance, transmission electron microscopy to become cognizant of the size and form as well as microbial tests to identify bacterial resistance.
After analysis the results showed that using achira starch as reductor-stabilizer is effective for synthesizing silver nanoparticles.
Rivera says that the bacterial tests showed that at greater starch concentration, bacterial inhibition was also greater. Antibacterial activity had 94% efficiency against Listeria monocitogenes.
Furthermore the obtained nanoparticles are also smaller because the reaction produced is very strong. In other words high starch concentration and thermal treatment size is reduced.
“This project contributes to improving functional properties such as adhesion and material corrosion as well as using them for the food industry,” said Rivera.
The research project was carried out under the guidance of Professor Ana Cecilia Agudelo and was showcased during the Faculty of Engineering and Management Research Projects Presentation Day (FIA Innova, for its Spanish acronym).