IISc’s lab-made enzyme can degrade effluents under the Sun, hold potential for healthcare applications

by Aditya Kumar

Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru have developed a new type of enzyme mimetic that can effectively degrade toxic chemicals in industrial wastewater when exposed to sunlight. The researchers at the Materials Research Centre (MRC) synthesized a platinum-containing nanozyme called “NanoPtA” that can be converted into a powder form suitable for industrial use.

The NanoPtA mimics the functions of natural enzymes called oxidases, which remove hydrogen from substrates in the presence of oxygen to produce water. It is highly specific in breaking down certain substrates and is robust enough to withstand changes in pH and temperature. When exposed to wastewater, NanoPtA forms tape-like structures that emit light, thereby oxidizing and degrading pollutants.

In their study published in the journal Nanoscale, the team tested the effectiveness of NanoPtA on common water pollutants such as phenols and dyes. They found that even small quantities of these pollutants could be degraded within ten minutes when NanoPtA was placed under sunlight. Furthermore, the NanoPtA complex remained stable for up to 75 days at room temperature, making it more convenient for storage and use.

The development of lab-made enzyme mimetics like NanoPtA is essential due to the limitations of natural enzymes. Natural enzymes are sensitive to denaturation and have complex production procedures, high costs, and difficulties in recycling. Mass production of natural enzymes is a time-consuming and expensive process. Additionally, natural enzymes are temperature-sensitive and require storage at low temperatures.

Nanozymes created in the lab can overcome these practical challenges associated with natural enzymes. In the case of NanoPtA, it not only shows promise in degrading toxic pollutants in industrial wastewater but also has potential applications in healthcare. The researchers tested its ability to oxidize neurotransmitters like dopamine and adrenaline, which could be used in diagnosing neurological and neurodegenerative diseases.

Moving forward, the team plans to patent NanoPtA for large-scale industrial production. They are also exploring less-expensive metal alternatives to platinum. The development of this enzyme mimetic opens up new possibilities for efficient wastewater treatment and diagnostic tools for various diseases.

In conclusion, the researchers at IISc have made significant progress in developing a new enzyme mimetic, NanoPtA, which can effectively degrade toxic chemicals in industrial wastewater. Its ability to mimic natural enzymes while overcoming their limitations makes it a promising solution for wastewater treatment and healthcare applications.

You may also like