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Applications of Nanotechnology in Perfumes: Thrills and Threats of Smelling Nano 

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 قتيبة حسين محمد المرزوكي
5/9/2011 2:03:28 PM
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  Applications of Nanotechnology in Perfumes: Thrills and Threats of Smelling Nano    Nanotechnology has entered the production and application of various personal care and cosmetics products, such as sunscreens, anti-aging creams, toothpastes, hair care and perfumes. Due to blurred definition of applied nanotechnology in terms of production procedures and ingredients, as well as due to loose regulatory and safety control systems, is the current scope and scale of nano-based personal care and cosmetics products only a wild guess. However, one such estimation shows there is currently around 1000 personal care and cosmetics products on the global market that are nano-based. While nanotechnology is widely applied and marketed in certain groups of cosmetic products such as sunscreens, anti-aging skin care and hair care products, much less is known about nanotechnology in perfumes; their production and application. Applications of Nanotechnology in Perfumes Currently known applications of nanotechnology in perfume production and application are predominantly based on nano-encapsulation methods (coating of nanoparticles with different substances): 1. Production of perfume (aroma) compounds. Application of nanotechnology enables reduction of costs of perfume compounds manufacture, while at the same time making it possible to produce purer and completely natural perfume compounds. This can be achieved by using nanoparticles such as gold-palladium that can replace expensive and potentially toxic reagents that promote oxidation of aromatic primary alcohols to aldehydes, which is one of the crucial processes in the perfume production. Another nano-encapsulation procedure proposes the use of nanoparticles coated in natural enzymes in the process of manufacturing expensive perfume compounds. There are no unwanted or harmful residuals. Further, the acquired scent compounds are of higher purity and can be labeled as completely natural since they are derived from reaction catalyzed by enzymes from natural organisms. This procedure could replace expensive extraction of perfume compounds from natural materials or their expensive purely chemical synthesis. 2. Time-controlled and prolonged release of scents. Nano-encapsulation (nano-delivery systems) can also help improve the attributes and performance (durability, stability) of substances such as fragrances that can be negatively affected by changed conditions of the environment (light, air). Application of nano-encapsulation in fragrance products enables more efficient (prolonged) and time-controlled release of the scents. This can be used in the manufacture of more durable fragrance samples used for marketing purposes, in textile and accessories fashion (e.g., embedding perfume into textiles, shoes, jewelry) and other materials (e.g., ceramics, baby dippers). Release of scents can be time-controlled by stimuli such as diffusion, pressure or temperature sensitivity. 3. Use of nano-encapsulation procedures in development of ‘nanotechnology electronic noses’ (replication of human olfactory sense) promises detection and absorption of variety of odors, which could be used in detection and absorption of unwanted or hazardous odors (e.g., carbon monoxide). Further, this could facilitate electronic sampling and testing of fragrance products, thus reducing the costs of fragrance and fragrance products development, and it could even enable development of artificial noses for people who lost the sense of smell. Recently, one type of electronic appliances in this direction, nano perfume ejectors, has been put on market. They are designed to mix nanoparticles with perfume and / or water particles and enable sterilization of air, absorption of unpleasant and release of pleasant odors. Considering the wide range of places where it could be used (e.g., homes, hospitals, public places) this type of nano-appliances undoubtedly has a bright commercial future.      

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