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MEI Online: Biotechnology: Latest News: August 27th 2002

 
 

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:: Scientists Use Alfalfa Plants to Harvest Nanoparticles of Gold

Ordinary alfalfa plants are being used as miniature gold factories that one day could provide the nanotechnology industry with a continuous harvest of gold nanoparticles.

An international research team from the University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP) and Mexico advanced the work at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) -- part of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in Menlo Park, Calif. The researchers are using, as tiny factories, the alfalfa's natural, physiological need to extract metals from the medium in which they are growing. Of most value here is that the alfalfa extracts gold from the medium and stores it in the form of nanoparticles -- specks of gold less than a billionth of a meter across. Their findings are published in the April issue of Nano Letters, a publication of the American Chemical Society.

   

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