January 6, 2010
School of Engineering, Coimbatore
What do fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, cabbages, and green peppers have in common?
All these have particularly high concentration of Vitamin C. Human beings, unlike most animals, cannot synthesize their own Vitamin C, they must obtain it through their diet.
Now research associates at Amrita’s Coimbatore campus have found a new method to determine the amount of Vitamin C in a substance, using nanosensors. The high surface area of the nanomaterials responds to even trace amounts of Vitamin C.
“In our study, we developed sensors based on titanium dioxide nanotubes and gold nanoparticles,” stated Mr. T. G. Satheesh Babu, who led the study. “The amount of Vitamin C in blood serum, in lemon and also in the pharmaceutical samples was detected using the developed sensor and results obtained were very close to the actual values.”
The electrochemical method is most commonly used for determination of Vitamin C. The method gives fairly accurate results but a serious problem with this method is that the electrode becomes fouled due to the oxidized products of Vitamin C. The development of nanomaterials-based sensors can help overcome this difficulty.
“Highly ordered titanium dioxide nanotubes were grown by anodisation and gold nanoparticles were electrodeposited onto them,” stated Mr. Satheesh, explaining the method. “The sensing was assessed in simulated body fluids with different concentrations of Vitamin C and the response was linear with concentration of the Vitamin.”
“Other biomolecules that are commonly present in biological fluids such as uric acid and dopamine usually interfere with the detection of Vitamin C,” he stated further. “But it was found that in this method, there is no interference. This method could find practical applications in the pharmaceutical, clinical and food industries.”
This work was presented as a poster titled Gold Nanoparticles Modified TiO2 Nanotube Arrays for the Selective Determination of Ascorbic Acid at the International Conference on Advanced Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology (ICANN-2009) conducted at IIT Guwahati during December 9-11.
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Out of 363 posters presented at the conference, Amrita’s poster, along with 14 others, was awarded a best poster award. Mr. P. V. Suneesh, a PhD student at Amrita, who participated in the study, presented the poster and received the certificate, shield and price money of Rs.1000.
“The other winning posters were from IITs, IISc, ISI or from foreign universities,” proudly noted Dr. T. Ramachandran, Professor, Department of Sciences at Coimbatore, who guided the study. “Ours was only one private institution to get this award and the only institution from South India.”