Porous ceramic nanocomposites with entrapped biofunctionality for biotechnological applications

The incorporation of bacteria and other biofunctional entities into porous inorganic matrices offers great perspectives for biotechnological applications. Compared to conventional post-functionalization approaches of sintered surfaces, incorporation of biological functionalities into the matrix of an accessible network of pores during materials processing opens up new perspectives for achieving high turn-over rates and high levels of biotransformation. In this project, a biocompatible one-pot process based on the ionotropic gelation of biopolymers will be used to generate porous oxide ceramic nanocomposites with entrapped bacterial cells and biofunctional molecules like photosensitizers. For this purpose, different pore structures varying in size, morphology and pore wall functionality are of high interest for analyzing both loading and stability of the embedded biofunctionality as well as the reaction at the interface between the nanocomposite material and the biological system, i.e. kinetics of substrate acceptability and product release. These interactions at the biointerface will be analyzed and evaluated by both chemical and biological methods and supported by simulative approaches. By applying standard ionotropic gelation techniques for the generation of interparticle pores, especially freeze-casting and direct foaming methods will be developed for biocatalyst and microorganism entrapment to evaluate the potential of lamellar pores and cellular structures for biotechnological applications. To strengthen the cooperations within the research training group such porous ceramic structures are also of high interest for filtration applications dealing with the investigation of dielectrophoretic effects and emulsification of fluid-fluid systems, respectively. Furthermore, µCT in combination with NMR methods can be used to characterize mass transport processes in the porous structures for generating 3D information in real time.

Contact: Kroll, Maas, Condi Mainardi