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Editorial [ Trends in Bio-Hybrid Nanostructured Materials Guest Editors: Eduardo Ruiz-Hitzky and Margarita Darder ]

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Bio-nanohybrid materials constitute an emerging interdisciplinary field in the frontier between Life Sciences, Material Sciences and Nanotechnology. Since the last few years, special attention is being devoted to bio-nanohybrids due to their incidence in significant areas from regenerative medicine to new materials showing improved functional and structural properties.

This issue of CNANO introduces some selected works showing recent research focused on the synthesis and properties of bio-hybrid materials, which are based on the assembly at the nanometric scale of compounds derived from natural sources with different inorganic solids. Among these nanostructured materials, the structural and functional bio-hybrids resulting from the combination of natural polymers, such as polysaccharides, polyesters, RNA and DNA, polypeptides, fibrous and globular proteins and enzymes, with inorganic substrates, such as silica and phyllosilicates, layered double hydroxides (LDHs), phosphates and metal oxides, are significant examples illustrating new insights in this multidisciplinary area.

Nowadays, there is an increasing interest in the preparation of bio-inspired or biomimetic materials following the examples found in Nature, developing bio-nanohybrids of enhanced mechanical resistance mimicking the exceptional features of native materials. Illustrating these features, studies on bio-nanohybrids that mimic the hierarchical structural bone organization are presented in this Issue by Senna's and Vallet's Groups. These authors report about the bio-nanohybrids based on the assembling of nanosized hydroxyapatite and other inorganic substrates with collagen and other proteins as key materials for artificial bones. In this context, the review by Vohra and co-workers highlights the preparation of nanostructured biomaterials for tissue engineering. Recent advances on fabrication of nanofibrous matrices of biopolymers for tissue engineering scaffold applications attained by the Vohra's Group are reported and discussed by these authors. Despite the great number of publications within this topic, this key contribution signals that this type of bio-nanohybrids can still be considered in its infancy regarding their possibilities for application in regenerative medicine.

Bio-nanohybrids derived from the assembly of silica and silicate particles with biomolecules constitute one of the major topics in relation with the scope of this Special Issue. In this context, Ariga and co-workers introduce an overview on organicinorganic hybrids derived from the immobilization of biomolecules on nanosized inorganic substrates. These authors have developed a new concept of multicellular mimicking systems named cerasomes, which are based on hybrid vesicles. Bioencapsulation of enzymes and other biological molecules in mesoporous silica gives bio-nanohybrids in which their stability is increased allowing future applications as catalysts, membranes or energy conversion devices, as reviewed by Fukushima and co-workers at the Toyota Central R&D Laboratory. Combination at the molecular level of biopolymers such as polysaccharides and structural proteins with inorganic silica and other inorganic substrates leads to an emerging research field in the so-called bio-nanocomposite materials. In this way, the contribution by Livage's Group refers to sol-gel processes giving silica based bio-nanocomposites, which show resemblance with native biomineral systems. The contribution by Ruiz-Hitzky's Group reviews different bio-nanocomposites based on gelatin, in particular those related to inorganic layered solids, such as clay minerals (smectites) and metal mixed-oxides (perovskites).

On the other hand, nanoscale systems based on porous membranes offer the possibility to synthesize materials within nanopores, which also constitutes an improved way for advanced separation techniques and sensing purposes. This important aspect has been reviewed by Martin's Group at the University of Florida based on their own experience, discussing in their contribution various synthetic strategies, as well as recent advances on nanotube membranes for biotechnological applications. The Group of Choy, in Korea (Center for Intelligent Nano-Bio Materials, CINBM) contributes with a review emphasizing on DNA based hybrids with multipurpose applications, from drug delivery systems to gene therapy. In addition, two contributions, related to the sensing ability of bio-nanohybrids have been elaborated by Briones & Martín-Gago as well as by Forano's Group, the former centered on the development of DNA microarrays and the last one dealing with enzyme-based bio-nanohybrids useful for bio-sensing devices......
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Instituto de C iencia de Materiales de M adrid, C SIC, 28049-M adrid, Spain

Publication date: 2006-08-01

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  • Current Nanoscience publishes authoritative reviews and original research reports, written by experts in the field on all the most recent advances in nanoscience and nanotechnology. All aspects of the field are represented including nano- structures, synthesis, properties, assembly and devices. Applications of nanoscience in biotechnology, medicine, pharmaceuticals, physics, material science and electronics are also covered. The journal is essential to all involved in nanoscience and its applied areas.
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