A team led by Indian Institute of Science’s Kaushik Chatterjee and Prof. Suryasarathi Bose has developed air filters that can kill germs by using compounds found in green tea. These include polycationic polymers and polyphenols, which are known to break down microbes at their site through site-specific binding, the Ministry of Science and Technology informed via a statement.
The project was supported by various grants from the Science and Engineering Research Board, including the SERB-TETRA funds. A patent has also been filed for the work.
According to a study conducted by the University of Cigaco, air pollution could reduce the lifespan of Indians by about five to ten years. It has been estimated that exposure to air-borne contaminants could adversely affect mental and physical health.
Existing air filters are known to become breeding grounds for harmful germs. The development of these germs can reduce the life of the filter and allow them to infect others. Through a NABL-accredited laboratory, the team was able to test the effectiveness of their antimicrobial filters and they were found to deactivate SARS-CoV-2 (delta variant) with an efficiency of 99.24%.
The team’s technology was then transferred to a startup company called Air Health. It is currently in the process of commercialization.
The patent granted in 2022 for the technology provides researchers with the opportunity to develop new air filters that can prevent the transmission of harmful germs. These could be used in air purifiers, central ducts, and ACs, the ministry further affirmed in the statement.