Nanozyme's catching up: activity, specificity, reaction conditions and reaction types
Nanozymes aim to mimic enzyme activities. In addition to catalytic activity, nanozymes also need to have specificity and catalyze biologically relevant reactions under physiological conditions to fit in the definition of enzyme and to set nanozymes apart from typical inorganic catalysts. Previous discussions in the nanozyme field mainly focused on the types of reactions or certain analytical, biomedical or environmental applications. In this article, we discuss efforts made to mimic enzymes. First, the catalytic cycles are compared, where a key difference is specific substrate binding by enzymes versus non-specific substrate adsorption by nanozymes. We then reviewed efforts to engineer and surface-modify nanomaterials to accelerate reaction rates, strategies to graft affinity ligands and molecularly imprinted polymers to achieve specific catalysis, and methods to bring nanozyme reactions to neutral pH and ambient temperature. Most of the current nanozyme reactions used a few model chromogenic substrates of no biological relevance. Therefore, we also reviewed efforts to catalyze the conversion of biomolecules and biopolymers using nanozymes. By the efforts to close the gaps between nanozymes and enzymes, we believe nanozymes are catching up rapidly. Still, challenges exist in materials design to further improve nanozymes as true enzyme mimics and achieve impactful applications.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Review Articles