People from all over the world are making efforts to reduce sugar consumption and bring down global obesity. While WHO has been warning people to reduce their sugar consumption, there are sugar industry associations who are warning not to do so since curb of sugar taxes will lead to job losses in other parts of the world. Indian researchers, however, looked at the problem in a different manner and found a cool solution to it. The sugarcane waste that is left out can now be used as a source for highly fluorescent carbon quantum dots. This new use of sugarcane waste or bagasse, as they call, can lead to reduction in agricultural waste to quite an extent. This also offers a completely new stream for income for farmers.
Dr. Ravi Shankaran Dhesingh, the associate professor at National Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and co-author of this paper, says that, “In our study, we developed a simple, low-cost and efficient method for green synthesis of fluorescent carbon quantum dots from sugarcane bagasse.” The dots are the minute carbon nanoparticles that measure around four nanometers. These are completely non-toxic and can be used for light emission, thus, these can be used as biosensors or as LEDs or for delivery of nutrients or drugs in human body. A group of researchers recently injected a human body with a few carbon quantum dots to picture what a living body looks like from inside.
The research also speaks of a completely new process for production of versatile nanoparticles. These Indian sugarcanes are cut into small pieces and then sun dried for around six days. When the bagasse has burned completely, these are oxidized chemically and then exfoliated. It is a dually profitable approach that helps in generation of useful substances and reduces agricultural waste with same efficiency. There are more than 90 nations across the world that produces sugar which also results in considerable amount of waste. Dr. Shankaran says, “Huge quantities of agricultural residues – rice husks, sugarcane bagasse and coconut husks – are produced annually around the world, and these are vastly underutilized.”
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