Nuclear Magnetic Resonance & Magnetic Resonance Imaging

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Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)

  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance is an analytical chemistry technique used in quality control & research.
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) can determine the content at the molecular level.
  • NMR spectroscopy is the study of molecules
    • by recording the interaction of radiofrequency (Rf) electromagnetic radiations
    • with the nuclei of molecules
    • placed in a strong magnetic field.
  • Hence NMR can be used to determine the purity of a sample as well as its molecular structure.
  • The NMR test is not required for honey that is being marketed locally but is needed for export.

Electromagnetic Spectrum – Wikipedia

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

  • MRI is a medical imaging application of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR).
  • MRI is used in radiology to form pictures of the anatomy and the physiological processes of the body.
  • MRI scanners use strong magnetic fields and radio waves to generate images of the organs in the body.
  • MRI does not involve X-rays or the use of ionizing radiation, which distinguishes it from CT.
  • Hence MRI is seen as a better choice than a CT scan.
  • Compared with CT scans, MRI scans typically take longer and are louder.
  • In addition, people with metal medical implants may be unable to undergo an MRI examination safely.
  • This is because of the strong magnetic fields employed by the MRI Scanner.

Magnetic Field in an MRI Scanner

  • MRI scanners have giant electromagnets with field strengths of between 0.5 tesla and 1.5 tesla (1,500 times more powerful than a fridge magnet and 30,000X the geomagnetic field).
  • For reference, a fridge magnet is about 0.001 tesla, and the Earth’s magnetic field is 0.00005 tesla.

Working of an MRI Scanner

  • The human body is mostly water (hydrogen and oxygen), and when in the massive, stable magnetic field of the scanner, the hydrogen protons get aligned in the same direction.
  • A radiofrequency source is then switched on and off, repeatedly knocking the protons out of line and back into alignment.
  • Receivers pick up radio signals that the protons send out, and by combining these signals, the machine creates a detailed image of the body’s inside.
  • Because of the machine’s giant magnetic field, hospitals and diagnostic centers issue detailed guidelines to ensure no metal objects are brought close.

Accidents while scanning

Adulteration of Honey & Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

  • According to researchers from the Centre for Science & Environment (CSE), major Indian brands are selling honey adulterated with a modified sugar from China.
  • Initially, sugars from corn, sugarcane, rice, & beetroot used to be added to honey to increase sweetness.
  • Such adulteration is detected by basic tests.
  • The modified ‘Chinese sugar’, however, can only be detected by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR).
  • NMR tests have very recently been made mandatory in India for honey that is meant for export.

Impact of honey adulterated with Sugar Syrup

Economic Impact

  • Sugar-syrup honey was often available at half the price.
  • This is a big blow to beekeepers (the majority of them are in the North-East).

Health impact

  • Pure honey has antimicrobial & anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Consuming adulterated honey leads to unintended sugar ingestion which leads to obesity.

Measures required to prevent honey adulteration

  • A mechanism for traceability of the source of honey (blockchain technology can be used in this).
  • Develop advanced Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) testing facilitates in India (the existing facilities are not sophisticated enough & can be tricked easily) & make NMR tests mandatory for the domestic market.
  • Stringent enforcement of quality standards & hefty penalties for violations.

India’s first honey testing lab

  • India’s first honey testing lab was set up by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) at Anand (known as Milk Capital of India; Amul dairy is here), Gujarat.
  • The testing lab will unlock potential for apiarists to take advantage of exports to the US and Europe.
  • Till recently, the exporters were required to ship their samples to Germany for testing.
  • The development comes after National Bee Board’s decade-long wait for a government testing facility.
  • The new lab is the only accredited laboratory that can test honey samples as per FSSAI’s regulations.

Paid users of Science & Technology Notes can download the above content from Sci & Tech April 2021 Current Affairs

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