Detecting Herbicides Using Carbon Dots

In News

Researchers from Assam have created carbon dots from the weed – water hyacinth – to detect the herbicide – pretilachlor.

In-Detail

  • The researchers, while trying to find ways to turn the weed water hyacinth into a value-added-product, they have struck upon the idea of using it for detecting the herbicide pretilachlor.
  • Water hyacinth is found in water bodies, and in Assam, almost all water bodies are infested with the weed.
  • For this purpose, the research team has produced carbon nanoparticles from the weed.
  • The nanoparticles were selective and are sensitive to the herbicide.

Carbon Dots Making

  • To make the carbon nanoparticles called the carbon dots, the researchers harvested water hyacinth leaves, removed the chlorophyll, dried and powdered the leaves.
  • After undergoing several treatments the powder is converted into carbon dots.
  • A nanoparticle which is less than 10 nanometre is called a dot or nanodot.
  • The carbon dots created by the research team gave green fluorescence under UV light.
  • This is due to a small oxygen functional groups on the surface of the dot.
  • The team studied the herbicide pretilachlor mixed in water and carbon dots using special equipment.
  • In the presence of pretilachlor, the fluorescence intensity of the carbon dots increased.
  • While the team tested the carbon dots with other herbicides, they found that the dots were extremely sensitive to pretilachlor and could detect even small traces of the herbicide.
  • After studying the effectiveness of the carbon dots in the lab, the team collected soil samples across the state and tested for pretilachlor.
  • The team also described how the electron transfer happens between the dot and the herbicide that is enabling florescence enhancement.
  • The team is of the view that their model will be a viable alternative to expensive sensors available in the market to detect herbicide contamination.
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