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Biomineralization of Zinc-Phosphate-Based Nano Needles by Living Microalgae

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DOI: 10.4236/jbnb.2012.33034    5,017 Downloads   8,381 Views Citations


Up to now, chemical synthesis routes only provide restricted opportunities for the formation of structured nano particles. In contrast, living microorganisms generate nano materials of well defined shapes by the precise control of biomineralization. Here we reveal new principles for the generation of functional nano materials through the process of biomineralization. We used the detoxification mechanism of the unicellular alga Scenedesmus obliquus to generate a techno logically interesting zinc-phosphate-based nano material. The algae were incubated in media with a sublethal zinc concentration (6.53 mg Zn dm-3) for 4 weeks. Using BF-and ADF-STEM imaging combined with analytical XEDS we could show that nano needles containing phosphorus and zinc were formed inside the living cells. Further more, the cells incubated with zinc show a strong fluorescence. Our findings indicate that the algae used polyphosphate bodies for detoxification of the zinc ions, leading to the generation of intracellular zinc-phosphate-based nano needles. Beside the technological application of this material, the fluorescent cells can be used for labeling of e.g. biological probes. This new experimental protocol for the production of an inorganic functional material can be applied also for other substances.

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G. Santomauro, V. Srot, B. Bussmann, P. A. van Aken, F. Brümmer, H. Strunk and J. Bill, "Biomineralization of Zinc-Phosphate-Based Nano Needles by Living Microalgae," Journal of Biomaterials and Nanobiotechnology, Vol. 3 No. 3, 2012, pp. 362-370. doi: 10.4236/jbnb.2012.33034.

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