Supramolecular chirality and crystallization from biocatalytic self-assembly in lipidic cubic mesophases†
Biocatalytic self-assembly in a nanoconfined environment is widely used in nature to construct complex structures that endow special characteristics to life. There is tremendous interest in mimicking such bottom-up processes to fabricate functional materials. In this study, we have investigated a novel biomimetic scaffold based on lipidic cubic mesophases (LCMs), which provide a special nanoconfined environment for biocatalytic self-assembly and subsequent formation of organic crystals. (R)-Benzoin generated in situ from benzaldehyde in a reaction catalyzed by the enzyme benzaldehyde lyase (BAL) exhibits – when confined within LCMs – enhanced chirality compared to (R)-benzoin in solution or (R)-benzoin-doped LCMs. We infer that a metastable state is formed under kinetic control that displays enhanced supramolecular chirality. As they age, these metastable structures can further grow into thermodynamically stable crystals. The biomimetic, nanoconfined environment provided by the LCMs plays a key role in the development of supramolecular chirality and subsequent crystallization.