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IISC-Bangalore develops green tech to rid air filters of germs

This new air filtering technique that uses ingredients commonly found in green tea can deactivate germs that find refuge inside air filters

Gurugram: An anti-smog gun being used to spray water droplets to curb air pollution, in Gurugram, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022. (PTI)

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A newly developed air filtering technique that uses ingredients commonly found in green tea can deactivate germs that find refuge inside air filters, the Ministry of Science and Technology said in an official statement.

A research team led by Prof Suryasarathi Bose and Prof Kaushik Chatterjee at Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, has developed a germ-destroying air filter that can inactivate germs using ingredients like polyphenols and polycationic polymers commonly found in green tea.

The 'green' ingredients rupture the microbes through site-specific binding, the statement said.

With a prolonged use, air filters become a breeding ground for captured germs. The growth of these germs clog the pores of the filter, reducing their life. Re-suspension of these germs can infect people in the vicinity, the statement said.

The novel antimicrobial air filters were tested at an NABL accredited laboratory and were found to be 99.24 per cent effective against SARS-CoV-2 (delta variant).

The technology was transferred to AIRTH, a start-up that is replacing the existing germ-growing air filters with these germ-destroying air filters for commercial purposes, the statement said. The air-filtering technique was granted a patent in 2022.

The deployment of these novel antimicrobial filters in ACs, central ducts, and air purifiers can play a crucial role in fight against air pollution and mitigate the spread of airborne pathogens such as several coronaviruses, the statement said.

The air quality in Delhi plunged to the severe category on Monday and the 24-hour average AQI stood at 410 at 4 pm. Pollution levels ameliorated to the very poor category on Tuesday morning at the overall AQI stood at 376 at 11 am, another PTI report added. An AQI between zero and 50 is considered good, 51 and 100 satisfactory, 101 and 200 moderate, 201 and 300 poor, 301 and 400 very poor and 401 and 500 severe. 

In view of that, Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai directed officials to run a special 10-day anti-open burning campaign in the national capital starting Tuesday in view of the spike in air pollution, the report added.

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