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Liquid nitrogen UPSC NOTE

 Why in News

  • The Tamil Nadu Food Safety Department has issued a circular on the use of liquid nitrogen saying the substance can only be used to preserve packaged food

Liquid Nitrogen

  • Liquid nitrogen—LN2—is nitrogen in a liquid state at low temperature. 

  • Liquid nitrogen has a boiling point of about −196 °C (−321 °F; 77 K). 

  • It is produced industrially by fractional distillation of liquid air. 

  • It is a colorless, mobile liquid whose viscosity is about one tenth that of acetone (i.e. roughly one thirtieth that of room temperature water)

Safe Uses of Liquid Nitrogen

  • Liquid nitrogen, an inert, colourless, odourless cryogenic fluid has traditionally been used in the management of many benign pre-cancers and cancers since the 1960s

  • This form of treatment is generally used to manage cancers wherein conventional surgery is not possible or can be used as an adjunct to conventional surgery.

  • The procedure involves using the element at a frosty -196 degrees C to freeze and destroy cancer cells. 

  • The treatment is scientifically described as cryotherapy. 

  • It can also be used to obtain biopsies from cancer tissues for further molecular analysis. 

  • Another application is to use it as cryo-adhesion to remove foreign bodies

  • Cryotherapy has been attempted to treat many cancers, including those of skin, bone, breast, cervical, eye, kidney, liver, lung, and prostate

  • Later introduced in system to improve the quality and shelf life of food by introducing droplets of liquid nitrogen in the packaging

  • When nitrogen evaporates, it displaces oxygen in the food pack, preventing microbial action and preserving freshness.

  • The technique was useful in packing coffee, potato crisps, peanuts and peanut butter, milk products, cheese, and dried potatoes

  • Liquid nitrogen is widely used as a coolant


  • Liquid nitrogen should be handled by trained professionals with proper protective gear, preferably in a controlled lab or industry, as improper handling or consumption of liquid nitrogen can cause severe damage to the skin, mucous membranes, and internal organs


  • Liquid nitrogen can scorch the organ or part of the body it contacts, making it appear like frost bites. 

  • It can damage the lips, tongue, throat, lungs, and stomach

  • It may cause lesions or burn tissues

  • If it reaches the stomach, the organ could get perforated

  • In the lungs, it could produce CO2 and the person could become unconscious. 



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Liquid nitrogen UPSC NOTE
Liquid nitrogen UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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