Projects

Morphological and structural features of buckwheat starch granules and nanocrystals were examined using atomic force microscopy. Partially digested starch granules revealed a clear pattern of growth rings with the central core showing lamellar structure. Atomic force microscopy and dynamic light scattering experiments revealed that the buckwheat starch granules were round or polygonal in shape and were in the range of 3 to 12 µm in diameter. Aqueous suspensions of starch using acid hydrolysis produced starch nanocrystals. The starch nanocrystals were in the shape of rods with lengths ranging from 120 to 200 nm, and diameters ranging from 2 to 6 nm respectively. New understanding of buckwheat starch components morphology and the granule concentric growth rings has been achieved through our study. Biocompatibility nature of buckwheat starch nanocrystals and their structural properties makes them a promising green nanocomposite material.

Karyotype analysis and classification of buckwheat chromosomes was performed with out chemical banding or staining using atomic force microscopy. F. esculentum and F. tartaricum chromosomes were isolated from the root tissues using enzymatic maceration technique and spread over a glass substrate. Air dried chromosomes had
a surface with ridges and the height of common and tartary buckwheat were approximately 350 and 150 nm.
Volumes of metaphase sets of buckwheat chromosomes were calculated using 3D atomic force microscopy
measurements. Chromosomes were morphologically characterized by the size, volume, arm lengths and ratios.
The calculated volumes of the F. esculentum and F. tartaricum chromosomes were in the ranges of 1.08 to 2.09 µm3 and 0.49 to 0.78 µm3 respectively. The parameters such as the relative arm length, centromere position and the chromosome volumes measured using AFM provides accurate karyomorphological classification by avoiding the subjective inconsistencies in banding patterns of conventional methods. The karyotype evolutionary trend indicates that F. esculentum is an ancient species compared to F. tartaricum. This is the first report of karyotyping of buckwheat using AFM.

Microfluidics, a rapidly emerging enabling technology has the potential to revolutionize food, agriculture and biosystems industries. Examples of potential applications of microfluidics in food industry include nano-particle encapsulation of fish oil, monitoring pathogens and toxins in food and water supplies, micro-nano-filtration for improving food quality, detection of antibiotics in dairy food products, and generation of novel food structures. In addition, microfluidics enables applications in agriculture and animal sciences such as nutrients monitoring and plant cells sorting for improving crop quality and production, effective delivery of biopesticides, simplified in vitro fertilization for animal breeding, animal health monitoring, vaccination and therapeutics. Lastly, microfluidics provides new approaches for bioenergy research. This paper synthesizes information of selected microfluidics-based applications for food, agriculture and biosystems industries.

Link to paper

A carbon dioxide sensor was developed using polyaniline boronic acid conducting polymer as the electrically conductive region of the sensor and was demonstrated for use in detecting incipient or ongoing spoilage in stored grain. The developed sensor measured gaseous CO2 levels in the range of 380–2400 ppm of CO2 concentration levels. The sensor was evaluated for the influence of temperature (at - 25 °C to simulate storage and for the operating temperature range of +10 °C to +55 °C) as well as relative humidity (from 20 to 70%). The variation in the resistance with humidity was curvilinear and repeatable, and had a less pronounced effect on the sensor’s performance compared to temperature. The sensor was able to respond to changes in CO2 concentration at various humidity and temperature levels. The response of the PABA film to CO2 concentration was not affected by the presence of alcohols and ketones at 1% of vapour pressure, proving that the developed sensor is not cross-sensitive to these compounds which may be present in spoiling grain. The sensor packaging components were selected and built in such a way as to avoid contamination of the sensing material and the substrate by undesirable components including grain dust and chaff. The developed conducting polymer carbon dioxide sensor exhibited effective response, recovery time, sensitivity, selectivity, stability and response slope when exposed to various carbon dioxide levels inside simulated grain bulk conditions.

Link to paper

Many plant systems accumulate silica in solid form, creating intracellular or extracellular silica bodies, the so-called phytoliths, which are essential for growth, mechanical strength, rigidity, predator defence and leaf stiffness. Silica is an inorganic amorphous oxide formed by polymerization processes within plants. There has been much research in order to gain new insights into the biochemical processes and to mimic biosilicification. The nanotechnology potential of using plant silica bodies has been realized by several researchers for developing biomimetic devices and in the making of new bionanofunctional materials. In parallel to the rapid rise of the idea of growing  nanotechnology by using diatoms, we have examined and synthesized  information on plant slilica bodies, plant silica uptake mechanisms,  and its bio-nano technological applications and the possible ways of producing biogenic silica bodies with new functions.

Link to paper

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Contact Us

Bionanotechnology Laboratory
Suresh Neethirajan

School of Engineering
University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario
Canada N1G 2W1

Office:
Room 3513 - Richards Building
50 Stone Road East

Lab: THRN 2133 BioNano Lab

Phone: (519) 824-4120 Ext 53922
Fax: (519) 836-0227

E-mail: sneethir@uoguelph.ca

 
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