Published on : Mar 18, 2015
Everyone knows that chemical weapons are dangerous and they pose real threat. In an era when economies are engaged in silent battle of mounting their arsenal with the latest arm and ammunition, a team of scientists have developed a brand new compound that possesses the capability to deactivate chemical weapons. In fact the research also revealed that the compound could also deactivate nerve agents such as sarin within moments.
The research was carried out by a team from Evanston Northwestern University, which is located in Illinois. It was revealed that the team got inspiration for the discovery of this new compound from a kind of enzyme called phosphotriesterases. The enzyme is produced by bacteria. They have typical proteins which has the ability of deactivating some pesticides as well as nerves gases in a matter of few milliseconds. These enzymes are likely to break down easily. Therefore, they tend to lose their ability to halt actions occurring in any dangerous compound pretty soon.
According to the tests published in Nature Materials, the research team from Evanston Northwestern University used these catalysts to see if it deactivates a pesticide which had compounds similar to nerve agents, but was safer than the later to be used for experimenting in a laboratory. This new catalysts is known as NU-1000. They observed in the experiment the new enzyme was able to deactivate NU-1000 within 15 minutes. When the enzyme was tested by US army facilities they observed that it has the ability to neutralize almost half of the total nerve agent GD, which by the way, is more toxic than sarin. The enzyme was able to deactivate the compound in just 3 minutes.
Researchers observe that the enzyme was 80 times faster than the previous compound in neutralizing dangerous matters.