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Biomimicking Silica Production of Marine Organism for Nanotechnology Applications

Oostveen, M.M. van (2005) Biomimicking Silica Production of Marine Organism for Nanotechnology Applications. Master's Thesis / Essay, Biology.

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Abstract

Biomimicking is a new trend in the nanotechnology aiming at control of silica deposition at the nanoscale. Groups of interest are marine diatoms and sponges that produce porous silica structures at scales down to nanometres, with a high organisational degree of pores, ribs and channels. So far, the nanotech industry failed to produce comparable complex structures and for those materials that were produced successfully, extreme conditions are needed such as high temperatures, high pressures and high acidity. In contrast to the mild environmental conditions during the natural silica production by living cells. For more and cheaper applications the nanotech industry would progress greatly if it were possible to mimick natural processes, but much research is necessary first to understand biological silica deposition. This has become a hot research item during last decade. Studies focus on a detailed explanation of cellular processes and their genetic background in sponge and diatom silica production, including characterisation of all proteins in order to eventually produce silica structures replicating biosilica that are useful for applications. The aim of this report is to give an overview of industrial silica production, biological silica production and various research directions undertaken to understand, reproduce and control complex biosilica structures. Furthermore, the usefulness of present research is discussed. Some promising breakthroughs have been made, but knowledge of biomineralisation and its genetic background is still scarce. For the time being it is not possible to biomimick nature's processes, but we can learn useful lessons and in so doing eventually make comparable structures in unexpected ways, like man did before the development of actual flying: first in hot-air balloons, then zeppelins, and airplanes in the end. In conclusions it can be stated that we should start with the application of simple silica structures obtained so far, such as the hollow spheres that were inspired by diatom biomineralisation processes. These have been shown to be quite useful for drug delivery purposes. Once such initial steps have been taken we may well reach the final goal formulated above: the design of self-controlled and complex three-dimensional structures.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:31
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:31
URI: http://fse.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl/id/eprint/9135

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