Biomimetic Structural Chemistry
We focus our research on understanding the biomineralization process behind the formation of complex skeletal structures. Inspired in Nature and, in particular, in marine organisms, we are in pursue to develop several biomimetic approaches to create novel nano and macro structures with different chemical nature.
The “bioconstructionism” of self-assembled organic-inorganic calcitic rods with unique mechanical properties mediated by a single protein (silicatein) were exploited. Although, these structurally resembles that of naturally occurring sponge spicules (Sycon sp.), the synthetic structure surpasses its mechanical properties.
F. Natalio, et al. ”Flexible Minerals: Self Assembled Calcite Spicules with Extreme Bending Strength”, Science, 339, 1298-1302, 2013
Microscopic comparison between synthetic and natural calcitic spicules (monoaxon from sponge Sycon sp.)
Exceptional mechanical properties of synthetic calcitic spicule.
F. Natalio, et al. ”Vanadium pentoxide nanoparticles mimic vanadium haloperoxidases and thwart biofilm formation”, Nat. Nanotechn., 7, 530–535, 2012
Biocatalysis is one of the most fundamental process that occur in Nature. We are interested in unveiling new process that can biomimic biocatalytic processes.
Recently, it was possible to bring closer the inorganic and “bio” world by exploring the biomimetic biocatalytic behavior of vanadium pentoxide nanoparticles in comparison to vanadium haloperoxidases (enzyme with vanadium active site and found in marine algae). Not only these nanoparticles display a similar mechanism of action, they can also prevent the growth of Gram positive and negative bacteria and further, the formation of marine biofouling on ship’s hulls.
World Patent PCT/EP2013/061698