Research Nanotechnology and Its Potential Use in Biotechnology
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Pharmaceutical companies focused on drugs with a chemical basis. It was sort of an artificial distinction, and is even more so now because pharmaceutical companies haven’t excluded biologics from their portfolios. At one time there were even distinctions in the definitions related to small molecules versus large molecules, but those are largely in the dustbin of biopharma vocabulary. It’s one reason why “biopharma” itself is a useful word to bridge the two, and really, biotech and pharma are largely interchangeable.
Nanoremediation is a new form of waste disposal mechanism that utilizes nanoparticles to detoxify pollutants. nZVI, a nanoscale zero-valent iron has gained widespread use in this area and has been applied in remediating polluted in situ groundwater. This technology has been cited as cost-effective and faster compared to traditional pump-and-treat methods (Karn et al., 2009). Other forms of pollution solutions employ the use of nanocatalysts. Just like biological and chemical catalysts, nanocatalysts speed up chemical reaction leading to decomposition of the reactive species. This is already being used to detoxify harmful vapor in cars and industrial machinery. Notable ongoing projects in pollution control include research on the recycling greenhouse gas emissions using carbon nanotubes (CNT) (Zhao, 2009). For his effort, the researcher for this “green” solution received an $ 85,000 Foundation Research Excellence Award (Zhao, 2009). Nanoparticles have also been used to treat highly polluted industrial waste (Zhao, 2009). Nanotechnology is also aiding in improving current water purification technologies. The technology has made it possible to decrease the membrane pores to nanoscale levels leading to greater filtration power. Nanotechnology has offered promises and potential for development of efficient and long-lasting energy devices. Nanofabricated energy storage compounds have been cited as potentially beneficial as they may serve as replacement for traditional environmentally harmful fossil fuels.
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