A female scientist who brings nano silver into daily life

Doctor Tran Ngoc Dung, head of the Institute for Environmentally Friendly Technology, an arm of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, was awarded the 2017 L'Oreal-UNESCO prize for nano silver research. The practicality of her research has created products that bring great benefits to daily life. 

“As a woman, I cannot avoid thinking of ‘bread and butter’. The idea of my research has been formed from the simple needs of life”, Doctor Dung said.

In 2002, the world started to pay special attention to nanotechnology. Three years later, Dung started her own journey to study nanomaterials in Vietnam.

According to Doctor Dung, silver is the most potent antibacterial in nature. The ancestors used this metal in health care and poison prevention very effectively. This is the reason why Dung spent 10 years doing research on nano silver just a few years after nano was discovered.

Doctor Dung’s research on face masks coated with nanoparticles surpassed a series of projects, becoming a good candidate in an environmental protection investment project of a non-governmental organization of Belgium.

Doctor Tran Ngoc Dung was awarded the 2017 L’Oreal-UNESCO prize for nano silver research.

Doctor Dung at the awards ceremony of 2017 L’Oréal-UNESCO for women in science awards.

Face masks coated with nanoparticles are being tested for antibacterial activity by Doctor Tran Ngoc Dung.

Face masks coated with nanoparticles are being tested for antibacterial activity.

Activated carbon cloth samples.

Dung attaches silver nanoparticles to activated carbon cloth.

Mouthwash product using nanomaterials.

A series of products using nanomaterials from Dung’s research are available on the market.

Later, a Japanese corporation sent representatives to Vietnam to meet Dung to negotiate a deal to produce nano silver face masks for the Japanese market. However, this request wasn’t possible at that time.

Five Vietnamese female scientists were granted the 2017 L’Oreal-UNESCO awards in the field of life sciences and materials sciences. Doctor Tran Ngoc Dung received the award for her studies on nano silver. Her products were evaluated for antibacterial activity on dozens of human pathogens such as E.coli, Coliform, S. aureus, P. aeruginosa, Aci.baumannii, Streptococcus, Vibrio cholerae, Enterococcus feacalis, N.Gonorrhoeae and Candida albicans.

Following nano silver face masks, a series of products using nanomaterials from Dung’s research are available on the market such as women’s sanitary products, mouthwash, baby and adult diapers, wound cleanser, wet tissues and antibacterial clothes.

In the research “Study on silver nanoparticles and application of silver nanoparticles in drinking water purification”, Doctor Dung has proposed solutions for providing clean drinking water. This contributes to the efficient settlement of a clean water supply for households in flood-prone areas and areas affected by water scarcity.

The silver nanoparticles solution developed by Dr. Dung and the research team can be preserved for long periods of time with very strong disinfecting activity. The nanoparticle size can be adjusted according to each demand.

After testing in clinical trials at central hospitals including the Le Huu Trac National Institute of Burns (Military Medical University), Military Central Hospital 108, and Viet Duc Hospital, her study named “Technology for making nanosilver-coated wound dressings for therapeutic treatment of burns” was approved by the science council.

According to Dung, a nanosilver wound dressing costs 50 US dollars in the US and in China the cheapest one costs 14 US dollars. Meanwhile, Doctor Dung’s nanosilver-coated wound dressings are 8-30 times cheaper than the same products of the US and China./.

Story: Thao Vy – Photos: Tat Son