Tag Archives: asthma triggers

Soy Air Filter

Biodegradable Soy Air Filter Works Better than Standard Filters

An inexpensive, environment-friendly, biodegradable soy air filter was created by scientists at Washington State University, collaborating with the University of Science and Technology in Beijing, that can filter out gases, like carbon monoxide, that conventional air filters cannot. Poor air quality impacts the inhabitants of several industrialized cities worldwide, of which repeated exposure to toxins can lead to health issues, such as asthma, lung cancer, and heart disease.

The research teams developed the soy-based air filter using natural purified soy protein and bacterial cellulose (polysaccharide that give cell wall of plants and microbes their strength). Soy has 18 functional chemical groups that can be exploited to capture toxic air pollutants on a molecular scale. An acrylic acid treatment was used to expose, or unwind, the amino acid groups that enable the soy-based filter to trap both small particulate air matter and chemical pollutants that people living in severely polluted regions inhale on a regular basis.

Currently available air filters are made of plastic, and in some cases glass and petroleum, with micron-sized fibers that can filter small particles found in smoke, soot, and vehicle exhaust. However, gaseous air pollutants, like carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, sulfur dioxide, and other organic volatile compounds (VOCs) escape typical filters—not to mention synthetic materials used to create standard air filters can also contribute to air pollution.

Cellulose used to engineer the soy air filters is a natural structure that’s already used in several biomedical applications, such as adhesives, wound dressings, plastics, and scaffolds for tissue regeneration, and is an inexpensive and earth-friendly material. Gelatin and cellulose-based filters have also been developed by the scientists, which are being applied to disposable paper towels to increase its strength and absorbency so less waste is created.

With the goal of maintaining a sustainable Earth, the researchers hope to improve the health and welfare of the public utilizing cheap, biodegradable materials to improve overall quality of life and balance out new emerging technology that may not be as green-friendly.

Pressure Change Technology Preserves Wine Without Sulfites

Edecto, a German medical processing laboratory in Dresden, has developed a method to preserve wine without adding sulfur dioxide by utilizing pressure change technology. The process was first created to pasteurize fruit juice. After a small batch of both red and white wines was tested, scientists are claiming the results are promising.

Sulfur dioxide is a common additive used by winemakers during the fermentation stage to preserve the wine’s flavor, character, and color. The compound also naturally occurs at low levels during the process. Sulfur dioxide dissolves into sulfites, which can cause an allergic reaction that leads to asthma. Both antimicrobial and antioxidizing in nature, sulfur dioxide protects wine from spoiling by deactivating microorganisms during fermentation to prevent wine from turning into vinegar. Unwanted yeasts, acetic acid and lactic acid bacteria are destroyed. Sulfites also allow wine to be preserved for aging as they inhibit oxidation.

Other methods to sustain wine have been used without success, or in theory are not considered good preservation techniques because they destroy certain components in wine that make a particular vintage unique. Filtration has been used to some success but has its limits before color is altered and important taste components are removed. Pasteurization is not a viable option as high heat is required and valuable heat-sensitive elements are ruined.

The new pressure change technology technique is a form of “cold pasteurization” of liquid foods that operates on moderate temperatures. A chemically inert gas, such as nitrogen or argon, is dissolved at high pressure into the liquid. As pressure increases, so does the solubility of the gas, which diffuses into microbial cells. The pressure is then suddenly decreased, allowing gas within cells to expand and effectively make them burst, killing all microbes. The gas that was dissolved in the cells is recovered and then reused. The presence of inert gases also stabilizes the liquids by preventing oxidation reactions from occurring.

When the pressure change technology method was tested on red and white wines, taste was not affected while color remained intact after a certain aging period in both bottles and barrels. Another positive facet of the pressure change technology is that the process can be used during any time during the winemaking production.

CO2 “Freeze Clean” Method Can Decrease Asthma Symptoms

Using carbon dioxide (CO2) as the cleaning agent, a team of researchers from the University of South Carolina have developed a CO2 “freeze clean” method to eliminate allergens from home furniture fabrics and upholstery that trigger asthma attacks.

The CO2 “freeze clean” method won’t damage fabrics and the treatment lasts up to six months. It cleans furniture by clearing away common allergens in the household that can exacerbate asthma symptoms. The process removes smoke debris and other residues from fabrics as well as deactivating proteins found in pet dander and pests, like cockroaches. In addition, it can exterminate dust mites buried in carpets and mattresses, which feed on dead human skin. People with dust allergies have hypersensitivity reactions from proteins that are present in dust mite bodies and feces.

The team is currently perfecting the application of carbon dioxide onto fabrics as a vapor spray directly dispensed onto the furniture. The vapor would then cool into minute micro-pellets of dry ice that are immediately vacuumed, leaving furniture dry and free of allergens.

The scientists originally meant to use their CO2 “freeze clean” method as a form of medical equipment sterilization but changed their directive once they realized asthma was a growing problem and the need for “sterilizing” home furnishings to rid of allergy-causing agents was a greater cause.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 7 million children, or 9 percent of the children population, and 19 million adults, or 8 percent of adults, in the United States suffer from asthma. Asthma attacks are responsible for 1.8 million emergency room visits per year. Sixty percent of asthma cases are allergy-related.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes airways to be inflamed thereby narrowing them. Repeated episodes of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing often at night or early in the morning ensue. Asthma can be successfully controlled with medications and by avoiding triggers.