Interactions of biomolecules with inorganic materials: principles, applications and future prospects
Interactions between inorganic materials and biomolecules at the molecular level, although complex, are commonplace. Examples include biominerals, which are, in most cases, facilitated by and in contact with biomolecules; implantable biomaterials; and food and drug handling. The effectiveness of these functional materials is dependant on the interfacial properties i.e. the extent of molecular level ‘association’ with biomolecules. The goal of this overview is four-fold: to present biomolecule–inorganic materials interactions and our current understanding using selected examples; to elaborate on approaches that have been used to expose the mechanisms underpinning such interactions; to identify the ‘rules’ or ‘guiding principles’ that govern interactions that could be used to explain and hence predict behaviour; and finally to highlight the drawbacks of the present approaches and outline future challenges and opportunities.