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New Frontiers in Diatom Nanotechnology

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Applied Biosciences and Bioengineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2021) | Viewed by 26336

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
NanoBioSystems Group, Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems - IMM, National Research Council (CNR), Via Pietro Castellino n.111, 80131 Napoli, Italy
Interests: optical biosensors; bio/nonbio interfaces; optical sensors; plasmonic substrates
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Diatoms are eukaryotic, unicellular microalgae living in all aquatic environments. Their protoplasm is enclosed in a hydrated porous amorphous silica shell called frustule, characterized by the presence of regular arrays of holes with submicrometric dimensions. Until now, about 105 species of diatoms, whose frustules differ in shape, morphology, and size, have been estimated. Diatomite, also known as diatomaceous earth, is a fossil material formed by skeletons of dead diatoms, accumulated on the bottom of lakes or oceans over millions of years. Diatomite is the most abundant source of natural silica, and it is largely used in several industrial applications (e.g., food industry, agriculture, pharmaceutics). Despite the great developments in the field of nanotechnology, the diatom/diatomite architectures can actually compete with man-made fabricated devices. Due to the high surface area (up to 200 m2/g), thermal stability, easy modification through genetic manipulation or chemical modifications, mechanical resistance, optical and photonic properties, nontoxicity, and biocompatibility, diatom frustules are potential scaffolds for the development of nanostructured devices for a variety of applications ranging from liquid filtrations, DNA purifications, immunoprecipitations, photonics, sensing, biosensing, and drug delivery.

Scientists working on diatom/diatomite nanotechnology are encouraged to submit their contributions to this Special Issue that could be an excellent opportunity to present more recent results in this field and networking labs all over the world.

Dr. Luca De Stefano
Dr. Ilaria Rea
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Diatoms
  • Diatomaceous earth
  • Optical and optoelectronics properties
  • Surface enhanced Raman scattering
  • Surface enhanced fluorescence
  • Nanoengineering
  • Photonic crystals
  • Surface modifications
  • Biomedical applications
  • Drug delivery
  • Tissue engineering
  • Biosensing
  • Energy conversion

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Editorial

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2 pages, 169 KiB  
Editorial
Special Issue on New Frontiers in Diatom Nanotechnology
by Ilaria Rea and Luca De Stefano
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(20), 10332; https://doi.org/10.3390/app122010332 - 13 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 933
Abstract
Diatoms are unicellular algae that live in aquatic environments [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Diatom Nanotechnology)

Research

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13 pages, 38616 KiB  
Article
Light-Emitting Biosilica by In Vivo Functionalization of Phaeodactylum tricornutum Diatom Microalgae with Organometallic Complexes
by Danilo Vona, Roberta Ragni, Emiliano Altamura, Paola Albanese, Maria Michela Giangregorio, Stefania Roberta Cicco and Gianluca Maria Farinola
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(8), 3327; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11083327 - 7 Apr 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2544
Abstract
In vivo incorporation of a series of organometallic photoluminescent complexes in Phaeodactylum tricornutum diatom shells (frustules) is investigated as a biotechnological route to luminescent biosilica nanostructures. [Ir(ppy)2bpy]+[PF6], [(2,2′-bipyridine)bis(2-phenylpyridinato)iridium(III) hexafluorophosphate], [Ru(bpy)3]2+ 2[PF6 [...] Read more.
In vivo incorporation of a series of organometallic photoluminescent complexes in Phaeodactylum tricornutum diatom shells (frustules) is investigated as a biotechnological route to luminescent biosilica nanostructures. [Ir(ppy)2bpy]+[PF6], [(2,2′-bipyridine)bis(2-phenylpyridinato)iridium(III) hexafluorophosphate], [Ru(bpy)3]2+ 2[PF6], [tris(2,2′-bipyridine)ruthenium(II) hexafluorophosphate], AlQ3 (tris-(8-hydroxyquinoline)aluminum), and ZnQ2 (bis-8-hydroxyquinoline-zinc) are used as model complexes to explore the potentiality and generality of the investigated process. The luminescent complexes are added to the diatom culture, and the resulting luminescent silica nanostructures are isolated by an acid-oxidative treatment that removes the organic cell matter without altering both frustule morphology and photoluminescence of incorporated emitters. Results show that, except for ZnQ2, the protocol successfully leads to the incorporation of complexes into the biosilica. The spontaneous self-adhering ability of both bare and doped Phaeodactylum tricornutum cells on conductive indium tin oxide (ITO)-coated glass slides is observed, which can be exploited to generate dielectric biofilms of living microorganisms with luminescent silica shells. In general, this protocol can be envisaged as a profitable route to new functional nanostructured materials for photonics, sensing, or biomedicine via in vivo chemical modification of diatom frustules with organometallic emitters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Diatom Nanotechnology)
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16 pages, 4066 KiB  
Article
Neovascularization Effects of Carbon Monoxide Releasing Drugs Chemisorbed on Coscinodiscus Diatoms Carriers Characterized by Spectromicroscopy Imaging
by Joachim Delasoie, Natasa Radakovic, Aleksandar Pavic and Fabio Zobi
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(20), 7380; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10207380 - 21 Oct 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2246
Abstract
Silica microparticles made of diatomaceous earth have become particularly attractive materials for designing drug delivery systems. In order to investigate the use of natural diatoms as drug scaffolds for carbon monoxide releasing molecules (CORMs), we evaluated the chemisorption of the cis-[Re(CO)2Br [...] Read more.
Silica microparticles made of diatomaceous earth have become particularly attractive materials for designing drug delivery systems. In order to investigate the use of natural diatoms as drug scaffolds for carbon monoxide releasing molecules (CORMs), we evaluated the chemisorption of the cis-[Re(CO)2Br4]2− complex (ReCORM-2) and its vitamin B12 derivative (B12-ReCORM-2) on Coscinodiscus frustules by 3D FT-IR spectroscopic imaging, and the drugs’ neovascularization effects in vivo in the zebrafish (Danio rerio) model. By mapping the symmetric Re-C≡O υ(CO) stretching vibration of the CORMs in the 2000 cm−1 region, we found that the drugs are mostly localized at the girdle band of the diatom frustule. Both ReCORM-2 and B12-ReCORM-2 retain their CO-releasing ability when chemisorbed on the diatoms. When applied in vivo at doses ≥25 µM, the molecules markedly reduced intersegmental and subintestinal vessels development in zebrafish, revealing high anti-angiogenic potential. In addition, diatom frustules did not provoke any toxic in vivo response in the zebrafish embryos, including inflammation. Overall, our results indicate that: (1) CORMs chemisorbed on diatom frustules retain their CO-releasing abilities; (2) both CO-releasing molecules show a concentration-dependent effect on the neovascularization in developing zebrafish; (3) silicate frustules are not toxic and could be used as CORMs drug carriers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Diatom Nanotechnology)
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19 pages, 6051 KiB  
Article
Mg–Al-Layered Double Hydroxide (LDH) Modified Diatoms for Highly Efficient Removal of Congo Red from Aqueous Solution
by Ganesan Sriram, U. T. Uthappa, Dusan Losic, Madhuprasad Kigga, Ho-Young Jung and Mahaveer D. Kurkuri
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(7), 2285; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10072285 - 27 Mar 2020
Cited by 71 | Viewed by 7283
Abstract
In this work, diatomaceous earth (DE) or diatoms are modified with Mg–Al-layered double hydroxide (DE-LDH) using the facile co-precipitation method to demonstrate their application for the removal of toxic dyes such as Congo Red (CR), which was used as a model. Field emission [...] Read more.
In this work, diatomaceous earth (DE) or diatoms are modified with Mg–Al-layered double hydroxide (DE-LDH) using the facile co-precipitation method to demonstrate their application for the removal of toxic dyes such as Congo Red (CR), which was used as a model. Field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) characterization confirms the successful modification of diatom microcapsules structures, showing their surface decorated with LDH nano patches with sheet-like morphologies. The surface area of the DE was enhanced from 28 to 51 m2/g after modification with LDH. The adsorption studies showed that the maximum CR removal efficiency of DE and DE-LDH was ~15% and ~98%, respectively at pH 7, which is a significant improvement compared with unmodified DE. The maximum adsorption capacities of DE-LDH were improved ten times (305.8 mg/g) compared with the bare DE (23.2 mg/g), showing very high adsorption performances. The recyclability study of DE-LDH up to five cycles, after desorbing CR either by methanol or by NaOH, showed the efficient removal of the CR by up to three cycles via adsorption. The presented study suggests the promising application of DE-LDH as an effective material for application in the removal of CR from aqueous solutions for industrial wastewater treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Diatom Nanotechnology)
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Review

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23 pages, 4085 KiB  
Review
Physical, Chemical, and Genetic Techniques for Diatom Frustule Modification: Applications in Nanotechnology
by Alessandra Rogato and Edoardo De Tommasi
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(23), 8738; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10238738 - 6 Dec 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 4557
Abstract
Diatom frustules represent one of the most complex examples of micro- and nano-structured materials found in nature, being the result of a biomineralization process refined through tens of milions of years of evolution. They are constituted by an intricate, ordered porous silica matrix [...] Read more.
Diatom frustules represent one of the most complex examples of micro- and nano-structured materials found in nature, being the result of a biomineralization process refined through tens of milions of years of evolution. They are constituted by an intricate, ordered porous silica matrix which recently found several applications in optoelectronics, sensing, solar light harvesting, filtering, and drug delivery, to name a few. The possibility to modify the composition and the structure of frustules can further broaden the range of potential applications, adding new functions and active features to the material. In the present work the most remarkable physical and chemical techniques aimed at frustule modification are reviewed, also examining the most recent genetic techniques developed for its controlled morphological mutation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Diatom Nanotechnology)
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20 pages, 1802 KiB  
Review
Nanostructured Biosilica of Diatoms: From Water World to Biomedical Applications
by Chiara Tramontano, Giovanna Chianese, Monica Terracciano, Luca de Stefano and Ilaria Rea
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(19), 6811; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10196811 - 28 Sep 2020
Cited by 39 | Viewed by 7604
Abstract
Diatoms—unicellular photosynthetic algae—are promising natural sources of nanostructured silica. These microorganisms produce in their membrane approximately a highly ordered porous cell wall called a frustule as protection from environmental stress. Diatom frustules consist of hydrated silica that show peculiar properties including biocompatibility, tailorable [...] Read more.
Diatoms—unicellular photosynthetic algae—are promising natural sources of nanostructured silica. These microorganisms produce in their membrane approximately a highly ordered porous cell wall called a frustule as protection from environmental stress. Diatom frustules consist of hydrated silica that show peculiar properties including biocompatibility, tailorable surface chemistry, chemical inertness, and thermal stability. Frustules harvested from aquatic ecosystems or diatomaceous fossil sediments represent an excellent cost-effective source of biosilica for a broad range of biomedical applications. The porous ultrastructure of the frustules displays a large surface area available for coating with various biomolecules through different functionalization methods. In this review article, we highlight the main features of diatom biosilica and present some of the most advantageous properties that support the employment of frustules in the field of drug delivery, biosensing, and regenerative medicine. In particular, it is offered an insight into the most common functionalization strategies through which diatom physicochemical properties can be modified and tailored according to the described field of application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Diatom Nanotechnology)
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