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The United Indian

Nano PTA Enzyme Mimetic: A Tiny Particle with Gigantic Benefits


Future-forward Solutions

Oct 11, 2023

In a groundbreaking achievement, scientists at the Materials Research Centre (MRC), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), have developed a novel solution for tackling the pressing issue of toxic industrial wastewater. They've created a nanozyme that efficiently degrades pollutants in wastewater under sunlight, thus significantly reducing its toxicity. This development holds great promise for both environmental and medical applications.


The Basics of Enzymes and Their Limitations

Before delving into this remarkable breakthrough, it's important to understand what enzymes are and the challenges associated with using natural enzymes for industrial purposes. Enzymes are crucial proteins that catalyze numerous biological reactions in living systems. However, their practical use is hindered by several limitations:


  • Sensitivity to Denaturation: Natural enzymes are sensitive and can easily break down or become damaged during industrial processes.
  • Complex Production Procedures: Mass producing natural enzymes can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor.
  • High Costs: The production of these enzymes often comes with high costs, making them less feasible for widespread use.
  • Recycling Difficulties: Recycling natural enzymes can be challenging, adding to the overall cost and complexity.
  • Storage Requirements: Most natural enzymes are temperature-sensitive and must be stored at low temperatures, often as low as -20°C.


Nanozymes: A Solution to Enzyme Limitations

To overcome these limitations, the IISc research team introduced "nanozymes," which are synthetic, nano-sized enzyme mimetics. These nanozymes mimic the functions of natural enzymes and offer several advantages:


  1. Platinum-Containing Nanozyme: The IISc team synthesized a platinum-containing nanozyme, known as NanoPtA, which can be easily converted into a powder form for industrial applications.
  2. Unique Mechanism: When NanoPtA comes into contact with wastewater, it forms tape-like structures through non-covalent interactions. These structures emit light, which is the key to their oxidizing capacity. This allows the nanozyme to efficiently degrade pollutants in wastewater when exposed to sunlight.
  3. Rapid Degradation: Remarkably, NanoPtA can degrade even small quantities of common effluents like phenols and dyes within just ten minutes of sunlight exposure.
  4. Stability: The NanoPtA complex is quite stable and can last for up to 75 days at room temperature, making it a reliable choice for industrial use.


Unique Properties of NanoPtA

NanoPtA boasts several unique properties that make it an ideal choice for wastewater treatment:

  • High Specificity: It is highly specific in breaking down certain substrates, ensuring targeted pollutant removal.
  • Robustness: NanoPtA can withstand variations in pH and temperature, making it adaptable to different environmental conditions.
  • Light Emission: When it encounters wastewater, NanoPtA forms tape-like structures and emits light, enhancing its oxidizing capacity.


Efficient Wastewater Treatment

The efficiency of NanoPtA in degrading common water pollutants, such as phenols and dyes, cannot be overstated.

Here are some specific examples of how nano PTA enzyme mimetics can be used for wastewater treatment:

  • Degradation of organic matter: Nano PTA enzyme mimetics can be used to degrade organic matter in wastewater, such as sewage and agricultural runoff. This can help to reduce the biological oxygen demand (BOD) of the wastewater, making it more suitable for discharge into the environment.
  • Degradation of dyes: Nano PTA enzyme mimetics can be used to degrade dyes in wastewater from textile and paper industries. This can help to reduce the color and toxicity of the wastewater.
  • Removal of heavy metals: Nano PTA enzyme mimetics can be used to remove heavy metals from wastewater, such as lead, cadmium, and arsenic. This can help to protect human health and the environment.


Within just ten minutes of exposure to sunlight, it significantly reduces the concentration of these pollutants. Its stability at room temperature further underscores its potential as a sustainable solution for wastewater treatment.




Potential Medical Applications

Beyond its role in wastewater treatment, NanoPtA holds promise in the field of healthcare, particularly as a diagnostic tool for neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. It can oxidize neurotransmitters like dopamine and adrenaline, leading to a visible color change in the solution. This unique property could be harnessed for diagnosing conditions such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and cardiac issues.



The development of NanoPtA by the Indian Institute of Science is a remarkable breakthrough that offers a sustainable solution for wastewater treatment. Its potential applications in healthcare, including neurological disease diagnostics, open up exciting possibilities. This innovation marks a significant step forward in scientific research and application, paving the way for a cleaner environment and improved healthcare.

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