This Jan. 2, 2013 news item on the Nanotechnology Now website casts a whole new light on Christmas trees, specifically the Douglas Fir,
Chemist Poushpi Dwivedi of MNNIT [Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology] in Allahabad, India, and colleagues explain that one of the most troubling problems in biomedicine is bacterial infection at the site of implanted medical devices, prosthetics and sensors. They explain that despite advances in sterilization procedures and aseptic measures pathogenic microbes can still invade biomaterials and tissues. The researchers are developing an antimicrobial, self-sterilizing composite material derived from Douglas fir needles that is essentially a silver/chitosan bionanocomposite that can be used to safely coat medical implants and surgical devices to preclude microbial growth.
The team has now used an extract from Pseudotsuga menzietii together with silver nitrate solution to generate nanoparticles. These particles can then be readily dispersed in chitosan polymer to make a material that can coat metals and other materials. The plant extract acts as a natural chemical reducing agent to convert the silver ions in the nitrate solution to nanoscopic silver metal particles.
Here’s a citation and link for the journal article,
Potentiality of the plant Pseudotsuga menzietii to combat implant-related infection in the nanoregime by Poushpi Dwivedi; S.S. Narvi; R.P. Tewari in
International Journal of Biomedical Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (IJBNN), Vol. 2, No. 3/4, 2012
The article is behind a paywall.