Genetic engineering of M13 bacteriophages offers opportunities for creating novel bio-nanomaterials. Phages can be engineered to recognize and bind to targeted materials, a process referred to as mineralization. In addition, the well-defined, elongated shape of M13 phages can catalyze self-assembly of ordered nanostructures in the form of layers of aligned nanoparticles; these have promising applications in energy systems, biosensors, and electronics. In this project, we study nanoparticle assembly and demonstrate that assembled phage layers can serve as templates for nucleation, growth and alignment of different inorganic nanoparticles. [more]
In this project, we aim to incorporate rare earth ions into the calcite coccoliths of Emiliania huxleyi algae via biomineralization processes. In doing this, we want to produce a luminescent, highly-structured micromaterial which glows with a red, green or blue colour. We use, for the first time, living organisms for the generation and shape-forming of components for luminescent technical devices.
Rodents have opposing long pairs of continuously growing incisors that are worn down by gnawing. The front part of the incisors is enamel, which is the hardest tissue of the body containing 96 wt% of inorganic material; the inner part is softer dentine that forms the bulk of the teeth. In the present study, upper and lower incisors of the feral coypu (Myocastor coypus Molina) were investigated through detailed study of the microstructure and chemical composition at the enamel surface and in the dentine. [more]
Many living organisms have a remarkable ability to form a diversity of biominerals and a variety of structures. Many of these biominerals are composite or agglomerated materials. These materials, formed under particular conditions, possess unique architectures and sophisticated compositions, which lead to excellent material properties. Human mineralized tissues, such as teeth and bones, consist of the inorganic Ca phosphate component hydroxylapatite and an organic component, mainly collagen. In this study, the physical and chemical properties of permanent and primary human teeth were investigated. [more]
Different types of molluscs build shells of diverse shapes and sizes, but surprisingly the mineral involved is in most cases calcium carbonate (CaCO3) mainly in the form of calcite and/or aragonite. When both polymorphs co-exist within the shell, they are always spatially separated, in different parts of the shell. The aim of our work was the investigation of inorganic-inorganic and organic-inorganic interfaces and contacts in abalone shell using a combination of bright field (BF) and annular dark field scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) imaging in conjunction with electron energy-loss spectroscopy. [more]