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Issue 6, 2008
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Bioinspired nanoencapsulation of purple membranes

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Embedding biological compounds, e.g. enzymes or whole cells, in solid host material seems to be a promising approach to widen their field of application far beyond the limits of natural conditions. In fields such as medicine and biotechnology, there is great interest in new methods to produce these types of composite materials in the form of micro- or nanosized particles. Such methods should be applicable to large amounts of substance. Inspired by one of nature's remarkable features—its ability to combine (bio)organic and inorganic components at the nanoscale—we developed a generic silica encapsulation method for biomolecules based on the concepts of polyelectrolyte layer adsorption followed by templated silica mineralization similar to biomineralization in diatoms. Application of this method to the model substance purple membrane (PM) resulted in a defined hybrid material with a nanoscale protective encapsulating silica shell providing a high barrier for the diffusion of low molecular weight molecules.

Graphical abstract: Bioinspired nanoencapsulation of purple membranes

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The article was received on 23 Nov 2007, accepted on 04 Apr 2008 and first published on 21 Apr 2008

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B718150G
Citation: Soft Matter, 2008,4, 1249-1254
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    Bioinspired nanoencapsulation of purple membranes

    A. Schönafinger, S. Müller, F. Noll and N. Hampp, Soft Matter, 2008, 4, 1249
    DOI: 10.1039/B718150G

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