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Feature Papers in Materials Science

A topical collection in International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This collection belongs to the section "Materials Science".

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Editor

Institute of Chemistry, University of Potsdam, Building 25, Rm. B.0.17-17, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24-25, D-14476 Golm, Germany
Interests: inorganic materials synthesis in ionic liquids; functional ionic liquids-hybrid materials; ionogels; biomimetic materials; hybrid materials; calcium phosphate; silica; water treatment; energy materials
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Topical Collection “Feature Papers in Materials Science” aims to collect high-quality research articles, short communications, and review articles in all the fields of materials with a focus on biological or molecular research. Since the aim of this Topical Collection is to illustrate, through selected works, frontier research in materials science, we encourage Editorial Board Members of the Materials Science Section of the International Journal of Molecular Sciences to contribute papers reflecting the latest progress in their research field or to invite relevant experts and colleagues to do so. Topics include, without being limited to:

  • Biomaterials
  • Nanomaterials
  • Structural Materials
  • Hierarchically Structured Materials
  • Functional/Sensor Materials
  • Advanced/Nuclear Materials
  • Polymers/Composites
  • Self-Assembly/Macromolecular Materials
  • Optoelectronic/Magnetic Materials
  • Soft Materials
  • Space Materials
  • Materials for Bioelectronics and Biointerfaces
  • Materiomics
  • Supramolecular Materials
  • Coordination Polymers

Prof. Dr. Andreas Taubert
Collection Editor

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Published Papers (147 papers)

2024

Jump to: 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019

19 pages, 7960 KiB  
Article
Obtaining Polyvinylpyrrolidone Fibers Using the Electroforming Method with the Inclusion of Microcrystalline High-Temperature Phosphates
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(4), 2298; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25042298 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 213
Abstract
The results of the synthesis of microcrystalline calcium phosphates such as hydroxoapatite, pyrophosphate, and tricalcium phosphate are presented herein. The influence of the addition of polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) on the phase characteristics of the resulting high-temperature ceramic sample is considered. The X-ray results show [...] Read more.
The results of the synthesis of microcrystalline calcium phosphates such as hydroxoapatite, pyrophosphate, and tricalcium phosphate are presented herein. The influence of the addition of polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) on the phase characteristics of the resulting high-temperature ceramic sample is considered. The X-ray results show that hydroxyapatite (HAp) consists of a Ca5(PO4)3(OH) phase, while the sample with the addition of polyvinylpyrrolidone contains β-Ca3(PO4)2 (65.5%) and β-Ca2P2O7 (34.5%) phases calcium phosphates (CPs). IR spectroscopy was used to characterize the compositions of the samples. An important characteristic of the obtained samples is the elemental Ca/P ratio, which was determined via energy-dispersive analysis. The data obtained are consistent with the composition of dental enamel apatites, namely, in the CPs (1.27) and HAp (1.40). SEM was used to study the morphology of the surfaces of hydroxyapatite particles. Polyvinylpyrrolidone polymer fibers were obtained using the electroforming method with the inclusion of CPs in the composition. The fibers were oriented randomly, and nanoscale hydroxyapatite particles were incorporated into the fiber structure. Solubility data of the HAp, CPs, and Fibers in a physiological solution at room temperature and human body temperature were obtained. The solubility of the resulting HAp turned out to be higher than the solubility of the CPs. In turn, the concentration of Ca2+ in a physiological solution of PVP composite fibers with the inclusion of CPs was lower than that in powdered CPs. Full article
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11 pages, 2811 KiB  
Article
High-Throughput Synthesis of Nanogap-Rich Gold Nanoshells Using Dual-Channel Infusion System
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(3), 1649; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25031649 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 397
Abstract
Gold nanoshells have been actively applied in industries beyond the research stage because of their unique optical properties. Although numerous methods have been reported for gold nanoshell synthesis, the labor-intensive and time-consuming production process is an issue that must be overcome to meet [...] Read more.
Gold nanoshells have been actively applied in industries beyond the research stage because of their unique optical properties. Although numerous methods have been reported for gold nanoshell synthesis, the labor-intensive and time-consuming production process is an issue that must be overcome to meet industrial demands. To resolve this, we report a high-throughput synthesis method for nanogap-rich gold nanoshells based on a core silica support (denoted as SiO2@Au NS), affording a 50-fold increase in scale by combining it with a dual-channel infusion pump system. By continuously dropping the reactant solution through the pump, nanoshells with closely packed Au nanoparticles were prepared without interparticle aggregation. The thickness of the gold nanoshells was precisely controlled at 2.3–17.2 nm by regulating the volume of the reactant solution added dropwise. Depending on the shell thickness, the plasmonic characteristics of SiO2@Au NS prepared by the proposed method could be tuned. Moreover, SiO2@Au NS exhibited surface-enhanced Raman scattering activity comparable to that of gold nanoshells prepared by a previously reported low-throughput method at the same reactant ratio. The results indicate that the proposed high-throughput synthesis method involving the use of a dual-channel infusion system will contribute to improving the productivity of SiO2@Au NS with tunable plasmonic characteristics. Full article
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24 pages, 6384 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Graphene Oxide-Fe3O4 Differently Conjugated with 10-Hydroxycampthotecin and a Rotating Magnetic Field on Adenocarcinoma Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(2), 930; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25020930 - 11 Jan 2024
Viewed by 466
Abstract
Nanoparticles (e.g., graphene oxide, graphene oxide-Fe3O4 nanocomposite or hexagonal boron nitride) loaded with anti-cancer drugs and targeted at cancerous cells allowed researchers to determine the most effective in vitro conditions for anticancer treatment. For this reason, the main propose of [...] Read more.
Nanoparticles (e.g., graphene oxide, graphene oxide-Fe3O4 nanocomposite or hexagonal boron nitride) loaded with anti-cancer drugs and targeted at cancerous cells allowed researchers to determine the most effective in vitro conditions for anticancer treatment. For this reason, the main propose of the present study was to determine the effect of graphene oxide (GO) with iron oxide (Fe3O4) nanoparticles (GO-Fe3O4) covalently (c-GO-Fe3O4-HCPT) and non-covalently (nc-GO-Fe3O4-HCPT) conjugated with hydroxycamptothecin (HCPT) in the presence of a rotating magnetic field (RMF) on relative cell viability using the MCF-7 breast cancer cell line. The obtained GO-Fe3O4 nanocomposites demonstrated the uniform coverage of the graphene flakes with the nanospheres, with the thickness of the flakes estimated as ca. 1.2 nm. The XRD pattern of GO–Fe3O4 indicates that the crystal structure of the magnetite remained stable during the functionalization with HCPT that was confirmed with FTIR spectra. After 24 h, approx. 49% and 34% of the anti-cancer drug was released from nc-GO-Fe3O4-HCPT and c-GO-Fe3O4-HCPT, respectively. The stronger bonds in the c-GO-Fe3O4-HCPT resulted in a slower release of a smaller drug amount from the nanocomposite. The combined impact of the novel nanocomposites and a rotating magnetic field on MCF-7 cells was revealed and the efficiency of this novel approach has been confirmed. However, MCF-7 cells were more significantly affected by nc-GO-Fe3O4-HCPT. In the present study, it was found that the concentration of nc-GO-Fe3O4-HCPT and a RMF has the highest statistically significant influence on MCF-7 cell viability. The obtained novel nanocomposites and rotating magnetic field were found to affect the MCF-7 cells in a dose-dependent manner. The presented results may have potential clinical applications, but still, more in-depth analyses need to be performed. Full article
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17 pages, 781 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Poultry Gelatins Prepared by a Biotechnological Method for Targeted Changes at the Molecular Level
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(2), 916; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25020916 - 11 Jan 2024
Viewed by 482
Abstract
Chicken collagen is a promising raw material source for the production gelatins and hydrolysates. These can be prepared biotechnologically using proteolytic enzymes. By choosing the appropriate process conditions, such changes can be achieved at the molecular level of collagen, making it possible to [...] Read more.
Chicken collagen is a promising raw material source for the production gelatins and hydrolysates. These can be prepared biotechnologically using proteolytic enzymes. By choosing the appropriate process conditions, such changes can be achieved at the molecular level of collagen, making it possible to prepare gelatins with targeted properties for advanced cosmetic, pharmaceutical, medical, or food applications. The present research aims to investigate model samples of chicken gelatins, focusing on: (i) antioxidant activity using 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and 2,2-azinobis-3-etylbenzotiazolin-6-sulfonic acid (ABTS); (ii) the distribution of molecular weights via gel permeation chromatography with refractometric detection (GPC-RID); (iii) functional groups and the configuration of polypeptide chains related to molecular-level properties using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR); (iv) the microbiological populations on sabouraud dextrose agar (SDA), plate count agar (PCA), tryptic soy agar (TSA), and violet red bile lactose (VRBL) using the matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) method. Antioxidant activity towards ABTS radicals was more than 80%; activity towards DPPH radicals was more than 69%. The molecular weights of all gelatin samples showed typical α-, β-, and γ-chains. FTIR analysis confirmed that chicken gelatins all contain typical vibrational regions for collagen cleavage products, Amides A and B, and Amides I, II, and III, at characteristic wavenumbers. A microbiological analysis of the prepared samples showed no undesirable bacteria that would limit advanced applications of the prepared products. Chicken gelatins represent a promising alternative to products made from standard collagen tissues of terrestrial animals. Full article
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12 pages, 1323 KiB  
Article
Effect of Solute on Interfacial Properties and Micelle Structure of Dodecylbenzenesulfonate (DBS): Experimental and Molecular Dynamics Studies
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(1), 678; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25010678 - 04 Jan 2024
Viewed by 501
Abstract
A combined experimental and molecular dynamic simulation approach was used to examine the structure and interfacial properties of solute-saturated micelles. The properties of dodecylbenzenesulfonate (DBS) micelles were examined in dodecane and benzene hydrocarbon systems. Pyrene fluorescence was used to determine the aggregation number [...] Read more.
A combined experimental and molecular dynamic simulation approach was used to examine the structure and interfacial properties of solute-saturated micelles. The properties of dodecylbenzenesulfonate (DBS) micelles were examined in dodecane and benzene hydrocarbon systems. Pyrene fluorescence was used to determine the aggregation number of surfactant monomers in the micelle systems. Molecular dynamic (MD) simulations using energy minimization applying the CHARMm force field with the TIP3P model for water. Comparison of the DBS/benzene and DBS/Dodecane micelles equilibrium structures via radial distribution function (RDF) and probability distribution function (PDF) analysis indicates that the area per head group for the DBS/Benzene micelle interface is significantly larger than that of the DBS/Dodecane at the interface. It was also determined that benzene molecules can move freely within the micelle while dodecane is strictly confined in the core of the micelle. The increased interfacial area per monomer caused by the insertion of benzene also reduces the effectiveness of the surfactant, which has implications for use in various environmental applications. However, the DBS/benzene micelle can solubilize many more hydrocarbon molecules in one micelle with less surfactant monomer (i.e., lower aggregation number) per micelle due to the increased available packing positions within the micelle. This, in turn, increases the efficiency of the surfactant in real-world applications which is consistent with previous laboratory results. Understanding the differing solubilization characteristics of surfactants against various classes of hydrocarbons in single solute systems is a necessary step to beginning to understand their solubilization properties in the mixed waste systems prevalent in most surfactant enhanced remediation (SEAR) strategies. Full article
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2023

Jump to: 2024, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019

23 pages, 2450 KiB  
Review
Low-Temperature Plasma Techniques in Biomedical Applications and Therapeutics: An Overview
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(1), 524; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25010524 - 30 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 769
Abstract
Plasma, the fourth fundamental state of matter, comprises charged species and electrons, and it is a fascinating medium that is spread over the entire visible universe. In addition to that, plasma can be generated artificially under appropriate laboratory techniques. Artificially generated thermal or [...] Read more.
Plasma, the fourth fundamental state of matter, comprises charged species and electrons, and it is a fascinating medium that is spread over the entire visible universe. In addition to that, plasma can be generated artificially under appropriate laboratory techniques. Artificially generated thermal or hot plasma has applications in heavy and electronic industries; however, the non-thermal (cold atmospheric or low temperature) plasma finds its applications mainly in biomedicals and therapeutics. One of the important characteristics of LTP is that the constituent particles in the plasma stream can often maintain an overall temperature of nearly room temperature, even though the thermal parameters of the free electrons go up to 1 to 10 keV. The presence of reactive chemical species at ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure makes LTP a bio-tolerant tool in biomedical applications with many advantages over conventional techniques. This review presents some of the important biomedical applications of cold-atmospheric plasma (CAP) or low-temperature plasma (LTP) in modern medicine, showcasing its effect in antimicrobial therapy, cancer treatment, drug/gene delivery, tissue engineering, implant modifications, interaction with biomolecules, etc., and overviews some present challenges in the field of plasma medicine. Full article
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14 pages, 5149 KiB  
Article
Effects of Argon Gas Plasma Treatment on Biocompatibility of Nanostructured Titanium
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(1), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25010149 - 21 Dec 2023
Viewed by 539
Abstract
In this study, we applied argon plasma treatment to titanium surfaces with nanostructures deposited by concentrated alkali treatment and investigated the effects on the surface of the material and the tissue surrounding an implant site. The results showed that the treatment with argon [...] Read more.
In this study, we applied argon plasma treatment to titanium surfaces with nanostructures deposited by concentrated alkali treatment and investigated the effects on the surface of the material and the tissue surrounding an implant site. The results showed that the treatment with argon plasma removed carbon contaminants and increased the surface energy of the material while the nanoscale network structure deposited on the titanium surface remained in place. Reactive oxygen species reduced the oxidative stress of bone marrow cells on the treated titanium surface, creating a favorable environment for cell proliferation. Good results were observed in vitro evaluations using rat bone marrow cells. The group treated with argon plasma exhibited the highest apatite formation in experiments using simulated body fluids. The results of in vivo evaluation using rat femurs revealed that the treatment improved the amount of new bone formation around an implant. Thus, the results demonstrate that argon plasma treatment enhances the ability of nanostructured titanium surfaces to induce hard tissue differentiation and supports new bone formation around an implant site. Full article
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15 pages, 2081 KiB  
Article
A Direct Comparison of Peptide Drug Delivery Systems Based on the Use of Hybrid Calcium Phosphate/Chitosan Nanoparticles versus Unmixed Calcium Phosphate or Chitosan Nanoparticles In Vitro and In Vivo
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(21), 15532; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242115532 - 24 Oct 2023
Viewed by 746
Abstract
Nanocarriers provide a number of undeniable advantages that could improve the bioavailability of active agents for human, animal, and plant cells. In this study, we compared hybrid nanoparticles (HNPs) consisting of a calcium phosphate core coated with chitosan with unmixed calcium phosphate (CaP) [...] Read more.
Nanocarriers provide a number of undeniable advantages that could improve the bioavailability of active agents for human, animal, and plant cells. In this study, we compared hybrid nanoparticles (HNPs) consisting of a calcium phosphate core coated with chitosan with unmixed calcium phosphate (CaP) and chitosan nanoparticles (CSNPs) as carriers of a model substrate, enalaprilat. This tripeptide analog is an inhibitor of angiotensin-converting enzyme and was chosen by its ability to lower intraocular pressure (IOP). In particular, we evaluated the physicochemical characteristics of the particles using dynamic light scattering (DLS) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and analyzed their ability to incorporate and release enalaprilat. HNPs exhibited the highest drug loading capacity and both HNPs and CSNPs demonstrated slow drug release. The comparison of the physiological effects of enalaprilat-loaded CaP particles, HNPs, and CSNPs in terms of their impact on IOP in rabbits revealed a clear advantage of hybrid nanoparticles over both inorganic and chitosan nanoparticles. These results could have important mechanistic implications for developing nano-based delivery systems for other medical, veterinary, and agricultural applications. Full article
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12 pages, 2190 KiB  
Article
Dopamine-Coated Carbon Nanodots: A Supramolecular Approach to Polydopamine Composite
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(20), 15384; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242015384 - 20 Oct 2023
Viewed by 764
Abstract
The development of biocompatible composites constituted by polydopamine and fluorescent carbon dots represents a promising way of exploiting the extraordinary adhesive properties of polydopamine for multi-purpose technologies. Here, a supramolecular complex is realized by the assembly of dopamine on the carbon dots surface, [...] Read more.
The development of biocompatible composites constituted by polydopamine and fluorescent carbon dots represents a promising way of exploiting the extraordinary adhesive properties of polydopamine for multi-purpose technologies. Here, a supramolecular complex is realized by the assembly of dopamine on the carbon dots surface, and the optical and structural properties are investigated by means of different spectroscopic techniques, from time-resolved fluorescence to Raman and NMR spectroscopies. The results suggest that the catechol unit of dopamine plays the main role in the formation of the supramolecular complex, in which carbon nanodot fluorescence emission is quenched by a photoinduced electron transfer process. The interaction with the nanodots’ basic surface sites promotes the oxidation of dopamine and drives to its oligomerization/polymerization on the nanodot surface. Full article
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14 pages, 5454 KiB  
Article
Ni-Based Hydrotalcite (HT)-Derived Cu Catalysts for Catalytic Conversion of Bioethanol to Butanol
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(19), 14859; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241914859 - 03 Oct 2023
Viewed by 798
Abstract
Catalytic conversion of biomass-derived ethanol into n-butanol through Guerbet coupling reaction has become one of the key reactions in biomass valorization, thus attracting significant attention recently. Herein, a series of supported Cu catalysts derived from Ni-based hydrotalcite (HT) were prepared and performed in [...] Read more.
Catalytic conversion of biomass-derived ethanol into n-butanol through Guerbet coupling reaction has become one of the key reactions in biomass valorization, thus attracting significant attention recently. Herein, a series of supported Cu catalysts derived from Ni-based hydrotalcite (HT) were prepared and performed in the continuous catalytic conversion of ethanol into butanol. Among the prepared catalysts, Cu/NiAlOx shows the best performance in terms of butanol selectivity and catalyst stability, with a sustained ethanol conversion of ~35% and butanol selectivity of 25% in a time-on-stream (TOS) of 110 h at 280 °C. While for the Cu/NiFeOx and Cu/NiCoOx, obvious catalyst deactivation and/or low butanol selectivity were obtained. Extensive characterization studies of the fresh and spent catalysts, i.e., X-ray diffraction (XRD), Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and Hydrogen temperature-programmed reduction (H2-TPR), reveal that the catalysts’ deactivation is mainly caused by the support deconstruction during catalysis, which is highly dependent on the reducibility. Additionally, an appropriate acid–base property is pivotal for enhancing the product selectivity, which is beneficial for the key process of aldol-condensation to produce butanol. Full article
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12 pages, 3503 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Effect of Surface Hydrophilicity on the Destiny of PLGA-Poloxamer Nanoparticles in an In Vivo Animal Model
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(19), 14523; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241914523 - 25 Sep 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 787
Abstract
This study aimed to examine the impact of different surface properties of poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) nanoparticles (P NPs) and PLGA-Poloxamer nanoparticles (PP NPs) on their in vivo biodistribution. For this purpose, NPs were formulated via nanoprecipitation and loaded with diphenylhexatriene (DPH), a fluorescent [...] Read more.
This study aimed to examine the impact of different surface properties of poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) nanoparticles (P NPs) and PLGA-Poloxamer nanoparticles (PP NPs) on their in vivo biodistribution. For this purpose, NPs were formulated via nanoprecipitation and loaded with diphenylhexatriene (DPH), a fluorescent dye. The obtained NPs underwent comprehensive characterization, encompassing their morphology, technological attributes, DPH release rate, and thermodynamic properties. The produced NPs were then administered to wild-type mice via intraperitoneal injection, and, at scheduled time intervals, the animals were euthanized. Blood samples, as well as the liver, lungs, and kidneys, were extracted for histological examination and biodistribution analysis. The findings of this investigation revealed that the presence of poloxamers led to smaller NP sizes and induced partial crystallinity in the NPs. The biodistribution and histological results from in vivo experiments evidenced that both, P and PP NPs, exhibited comparable concentrations in the bloodstream, while P NPs could not be detected in the other organs examined. Conversely, PP NPs were primarily sequestered by the lungs and, to a lesser extent, by the kidneys. Future research endeavors will focus on investigating the behavior of drug-loaded NPs in pathological animal models. Full article
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13 pages, 4325 KiB  
Article
Enhanced Antibacterial Ability of Electrospun PCL Scaffolds Incorporating ZnO Nanowires
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(19), 14420; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241914420 - 22 Sep 2023
Viewed by 945
Abstract
The infection of implanted biomaterial scaffolds presents a major challenge. Existing therapeutic solutions, such as antibiotic treatment and silver nanoparticle-containing scaffolds are becoming increasingly impractical because of the growth of antibiotic resistance and the toxicity of silver nanoparticles. We present here a novel [...] Read more.
The infection of implanted biomaterial scaffolds presents a major challenge. Existing therapeutic solutions, such as antibiotic treatment and silver nanoparticle-containing scaffolds are becoming increasingly impractical because of the growth of antibiotic resistance and the toxicity of silver nanoparticles. We present here a novel concept to overcome these limitations, an electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffold functionalised with zinc oxide nanowires (ZnO NWs). This study assessed the antibacterial capabilities and biocompatibility of PCL/ZnO scaffolds. The fabricated scaffolds were characterised by SEM and EDX, which showed that the ZnO NWs were successfully incorporated and distributed in the electrospun PCL scaffolds. The antibacterial properties were investigated by co-culturing PCL/ZnO scaffolds with Staphylococcus aureus. Bacterial colonisation was reduced to 51.3% compared to a PCL-only scaffold. The biocompatibility of the PCL/ZnO scaffolds was assessed by culturing them with HaCaT cells. The PCL scaffolds exhibited no changes in cell metabolic activity with the addition of the ZnO nanowires. The antibacterial and biocompatibility properties make PCL/ZnO a good choice for implanted scaffolds, and this work lays a foundation for ZnO NWs-infused PCL scaffolds in the potential clinical application of tissue engineering. Full article
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11 pages, 14561 KiB  
Article
The Anti-Caries Effects of a Novel Peptide on Dentine Caries: An In Vitro Study
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(18), 14076; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241814076 - 14 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 643
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the antibiofilm and remineralising effects of peptide GAPI on artificial dentin caries. After creating artificial carious lesions, eighty dentine blocks were randomly assigned for treatment twice daily with GAPI (GAPI group) or deionised water (control group). Both groups [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the antibiofilm and remineralising effects of peptide GAPI on artificial dentin caries. After creating artificial carious lesions, eighty dentine blocks were randomly assigned for treatment twice daily with GAPI (GAPI group) or deionised water (control group). Both groups underwent a 7-day biochemical cycle. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed S. mutans with damaged structures that partially covered the dentine in the GAPI group. The dead–live ratios for the GAPI and control groups were 0.77 ± 0.13 and 0.37 ± 0.09 (p < 0.001). The log colony-forming units for the GAPI and control groups were 7.45 ± 0.32 and 8.74 ± 0.50 (p < 0.001), respectively. The lesion depths for the GAPI and control groups were 151 ± 18 µm and 214 ± 15 µm (p < 0.001), respectively. The mineral losses for the GAPI and control groups were 0.91 ± 0.07 gHAcm−3 and 1.01 ± 0.07 gHAcm−3 (p = 0.01), respectively. The hydrogen-to-amide I ratios for the GAPI and control groups were 2.92 ± 0.82 and 1.83 ± 0.73 (p = 0.014), respectively. SEM micrographs revealed fewer exposed dentine collagen fibres in the GAPI group compared to those in the control group. Furthermore, X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns indicated that the hydroxyapatite in the GAPI group was more crystallised than that in the control group. This study demonstrated GAPI’s antibiofilm and remineralising effects on artificial dentin caries. Full article
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25 pages, 7921 KiB  
Review
Nano-Enabled Antivirals for Overcoming Antibody Escaped Mutations Based SARS-CoV-2 Waves
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(17), 13130; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241713130 - 23 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1795
Abstract
This review discusses receptor-binding domain (RBD) mutations related to the emergence of various SARS-CoV-2 variants, which have been highlighted as a major cause of repetitive clinical waves of COVID-19. Our perusal of the literature reveals that most variants were able to escape neutralizing [...] Read more.
This review discusses receptor-binding domain (RBD) mutations related to the emergence of various SARS-CoV-2 variants, which have been highlighted as a major cause of repetitive clinical waves of COVID-19. Our perusal of the literature reveals that most variants were able to escape neutralizing antibodies developed after immunization or natural exposure, pointing to the need for a sustainable technological solution to overcome this crisis. This review, therefore, focuses on nanotechnology and the development of antiviral nanomaterials with physical antagonistic features of viral replication checkpoints as such a solution. Our detailed discussion of SARS-CoV-2 replication and pathogenesis highlights four distinct checkpoints, the S protein (ACE2 receptor coupling), the RBD motif (ACE2 receptor coupling), ACE2 coupling, and the S protein cleavage site, as targets for the development of nano-enabled solutions that, for example, prevent viral attachment and fusion with the host cell by either blocking viral RBD/spike proteins or cellular ACE2 receptors. As proof of this concept, we highlight applications of several nanomaterials, such as metal and metal oxide nanoparticles, carbon-based nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes, fullerene, carbon dots, quantum dots, polymeric nanoparticles, lipid-based, polymer-based, lipid–polymer hybrid-based, surface-modified nanoparticles that have already been employed to control viral infections. These nanoparticles were developed to inhibit receptor-mediated host–virus attachments and cell fusion, the uncoating of the virus, viral gene expression, protein synthesis, the assembly of progeny viral particles, and the release of the virion. Moreover, nanomaterials have been used as antiviral drug carriers and vaccines, and nano-enabled sensors have already been shown to enable fast, sensitive, and label-free real-time diagnosis of viral infections. Nano-biosensors could, therefore, also be useful in the remote testing and tracking of patients, while nanocarriers probed with target tissue could facilitate the targeted delivery of antiviral drugs to infected cells, tissues, organs, or systems while avoiding unwanted exposure of non-target tissues. Antiviral nanoparticles can also be applied to sanitizers, clothing, facemasks, and other personal protective equipment to minimize horizontal spread. We believe that the nanotechnology-enabled solutions described in this review will enable us to control repeated SAR-CoV-2 waves caused by antibody escape mutations. Full article
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13 pages, 2523 KiB  
Article
Blocking Nonspecific Interactions Using Y-Shape Poly(ethylene glycol)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(15), 12414; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241512414 - 04 Aug 2023
Viewed by 918
Abstract
Nonspecific interactions play a significant role in physiological activities, surface chemical modification, and artificial adhesives. However, nonspecificity sometimes causes sticky problems, including surface fouling, decreased target specificity, and artifacts in single-molecule measurements. Adjusting the liquid pH, using protein-blocking additives, adding nonionic surfactants, or [...] Read more.
Nonspecific interactions play a significant role in physiological activities, surface chemical modification, and artificial adhesives. However, nonspecificity sometimes causes sticky problems, including surface fouling, decreased target specificity, and artifacts in single-molecule measurements. Adjusting the liquid pH, using protein-blocking additives, adding nonionic surfactants, or increasing the salt concentration are common methods to minimize nonspecific binding to achieve high-quality data. Here, we report that grafting heteromorphic polyethylene glycol (Y-shape PEG) with two inert terminates could noticeably decrease nonspecific binding. As a proof-of-concept, we performed single-molecule force spectroscopy and fluorescence staining imaging experiments to verify the feasibility of Y-shape PEG in blocking nonspecific interactions. Our results indicate that Y-shape PEG could serve as a prominent and efficient candidate to minimize nonspecificity for scientific and biomedical applications. Full article
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11 pages, 4824 KiB  
Communication
Preparation and Testing of a Palladium-Decorated Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Foam Catalyst for the Hydrogenation of Benzophenone
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(15), 12211; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241512211 - 30 Jul 2023
Viewed by 749
Abstract
Catalytic activity of a palladium catalyst with a porous carbon support was prepared and tested for benzophenone hydrogenation. The selectivity and yields toward the two possible reaction products (benzhydrol and diphenylmethane) can be directed by the applied solvent. It was found that in [...] Read more.
Catalytic activity of a palladium catalyst with a porous carbon support was prepared and tested for benzophenone hydrogenation. The selectivity and yields toward the two possible reaction products (benzhydrol and diphenylmethane) can be directed by the applied solvent. It was found that in isopropanol, the prepared support was selective towards diphenylmethane with high conversion (99% selectivity and 99% benzophenone conversion on 323 K after 240 min). This selectivity might be explained by the presence of the incorporated structural nitrogens in the support. Full article
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13 pages, 9556 KiB  
Article
A Density Functional Theory (DFT) Perspective on Optical Absorption of Modified Graphene Interacting with the Main Amino Acids of Spider Silk
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(15), 12084; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241512084 - 28 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 731
Abstract
We investigated the possible adsorption of each of the main building blocks of spider silk: alanine, glycine, leucine, and proline. This knowledge could help develop new biocompatible materials and favors the creation of new biosensors. We used ab initio density functional theory methods [...] Read more.
We investigated the possible adsorption of each of the main building blocks of spider silk: alanine, glycine, leucine, and proline. This knowledge could help develop new biocompatible materials and favors the creation of new biosensors. We used ab initio density functional theory methods to study the variations in the optical absorption, reflectivity, and band structure of a modified graphene surface interacting with these four molecules. Four modification cases were considered: graphene with vacancies at 5.55% and fluorine, nitrogen, or oxygen doping, also at 5.55%. We found that, among the cases considered, graphene with vacancies is the best candidate to develop optical biosensors to detect C=O amide and differentiate glycine and leucine from alanine and proline in the visible spectrum region. Finally, from the projected density of states, the main changes occur at deep energies. Thus, all modified graphene’s electronic energy band structure undergoes only tiny changes when interacting with amino acids. Full article
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15 pages, 4514 KiB  
Article
Self-Standing Pd-Based Nanostructures for Electrocatalytic CO Oxidation: Do Nanocatalyst Shape and Electrolyte pH Matter?
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(14), 11832; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241411832 - 23 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 918
Abstract
Tailoring the shape of Pd nanocrystals is one of the main ways to enhance catalytic activity; however, the effect of shapes and electrolyte pH on carbon monoxide oxidation (COOxid) is not highlighted enough. This article presents the controlled fabrication of Pd [...] Read more.
Tailoring the shape of Pd nanocrystals is one of the main ways to enhance catalytic activity; however, the effect of shapes and electrolyte pH on carbon monoxide oxidation (COOxid) is not highlighted enough. This article presents the controlled fabrication of Pd nanocrystals in different morphologies, including Pd nanosponge via the ice-cooling reduction of the Pd precursor using NaBH4 solution and Pd nanocube via ascorbic acid reduction at 25 °C. Both Pd nanosponge and Pd nanocube are self-standing and have a high surface area, uniform distribution, and clean surface. The electrocatalytic CO oxidation activity and durability of the Pd nanocube were significantly superior to those of Pd nanosponge and commercial Pd/C in only acidic (H2SO4) medium and the best among the three media, due to the multiple adsorption active sites, uniform distribution, and high surface area of the nanocube structure. However, Pd nanosponge had enhanced COOxid activity and stability in both alkaline (KOH) and neutral (NaHCO3) electrolytes than Pd nanocube and Pd/C, attributable to its low Pd-Pd interatomic distance and cleaner surface. The self-standing Pd nanosponge and Pd nanocube were more active than Pd/C in all electrolytes. Mainly, the COOxid current density of Pd nanocube in H2SO4 (5.92 mA/cm2) was nearly 3.6 times that in KOH (1.63 mA/cm2) and 10.3 times that in NaHCO3 (0.578 mA/cm2), owing to the greater charge mobility and better electrolyte–electrode interaction, as evidenced by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) analysis. Notably, this study confirmed that acidic electrolytes and Pd nanocube are highly preferred for promoting COOxid and may open new avenues for precluding CO poisoning in alcohol-based fuel cells. Full article
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47 pages, 8301 KiB  
Review
Lignin, the Lignification Process, and Advanced, Lignin-Based Materials
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(14), 11668; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241411668 - 19 Jul 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4313
Abstract
At a time when environmental considerations are increasingly pushing for the application of circular economy concepts in materials science, lignin stands out as an under-used but promising and environmentally benign building block. This review focuses (A) on understanding what we mean with lignin, [...] Read more.
At a time when environmental considerations are increasingly pushing for the application of circular economy concepts in materials science, lignin stands out as an under-used but promising and environmentally benign building block. This review focuses (A) on understanding what we mean with lignin, i.e., where it can be found and how it is produced in plants, devoting particular attention to the identity of lignols (including ferulates that are instrumental for integrating lignin with cell wall polysaccharides) and to the details of their coupling reactions and (B) on providing an overview how lignin can actually be employed as a component of materials in healthcare and energy applications, finally paying specific attention to the use of lignin in the development of organic shape-memory materials. Full article
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16 pages, 16370 KiB  
Article
Fabrication, Structure, and Properties of Nonwoven Silk Fabrics Prepared with Different Cocoon Layers
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(14), 11485; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241411485 - 14 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1084
Abstract
In this study, five different nonwoven silk fabrics were fabricated with silk fibers from different cocoon layers, and the effect of the cocoon layer on the structural characteristics and properties of the nonwoven silk fabric was examined. The diameter of the silk fiber [...] Read more.
In this study, five different nonwoven silk fabrics were fabricated with silk fibers from different cocoon layers, and the effect of the cocoon layer on the structural characteristics and properties of the nonwoven silk fabric was examined. The diameter of the silk fiber and thickness of the nonwoven silk fabric decreased from the outer to the inner cocoon layer. More amino acids with higher hydrophilicity (serine, aspartic acid, and glutamic acid) and lower hydrophilicity (glycine and alanine) were observed in the outer layers. From the outer to the inner layer, the overall crystallinity and contact angle of the nonwoven silk fabric increased, whereas its yellowness index, moisture retention, and mechanical properties decreased. Regardless of the cocoon layer at which the fiber was sourced, the thermal stability of fibroin and sericin and good cell viability remained unchanged. The results of this study indicate that the properties of nonwoven silk fabric can be controlled by choosing silk fibers from the appropriate cocoon layers. Moreover, the findings in this study will increase the applicability of nonwoven silk fabric in the biomedical and cosmetic fields, which require specific properties for industrialization. Full article
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15 pages, 3858 KiB  
Article
Functionalized Ordered Mesoporous MCM-48 Silica: Synthesis, Characterization and Adsorbent for CO2 Capture
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(12), 10345; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241210345 - 19 Jun 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1291
Abstract
The ordered mesoporous silica MCM-48 with cubic Ia3d structure was synthesized using the cationic surfactant hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) as a template agent and tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS) as a silica source. The obtained material was first functionalized with (3-glycidyloxypropyl)trimethoxysilane (KH560); further, two types of amination [...] Read more.
The ordered mesoporous silica MCM-48 with cubic Ia3d structure was synthesized using the cationic surfactant hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) as a template agent and tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS) as a silica source. The obtained material was first functionalized with (3-glycidyloxypropyl)trimethoxysilane (KH560); further, two types of amination reagents were used: ethylene diamine (N2) and diethylene triamine (N3). The modified amino-functionalized materials were characterized by powder X-ray diffraction (XRD) at low angles, infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and nitrogen adsorption–desorption experiments at 77 K. Characterization from a structural point of view reveals that the ordered MCM-48 mesoporous silica has a highly ordered structure and a large surface area (1466.059 m2/g) and pore volume (0.802 cm3/g). The amino-functionalized MCM-48 molecular sieves were tested for CO2 adsorption–desorption properties at different temperatures using thermal program desorption (TPD). Promising results for CO2 adsorption capacities were achieved for MCM-48 sil KH560-N3 at 30 °C. At 30 °C, the MCM-48 sil KH560-N3 sample has an adsorption capacity of 3.17 mmol CO2/g SiO2, and an efficiency of amino groups of 0.58 mmol CO2/mmolNH2. After nine adsorption–desorption cycles, the results suggest that the performance of the MCM-48 sil KH N2 and MCM-48 sil KH N3 adsorbents is relatively stable, presenting a low decrease in the adsorption capacity. The results reported in this paper for the investigated amino-functionalized molecular sieves as absorbents for CO2 can be considered as promising. Full article
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13 pages, 2434 KiB  
Article
A Green Synthesis of CoFe2O4 Decorated ZIF-8 Composite for Electrochemical Oxygen Evolution
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(11), 9585; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24119585 - 31 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1077
Abstract
Low-cost, sustainable hydrogen production requires noble metal-free electrocatalysts for water splitting. In this study, we prepared zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIF) decorated with CoFe2O4 spinel nanoparticles as active catalysts for oxygen evolution reaction (OER). The CoFe2O4 nanoparticles were [...] Read more.
Low-cost, sustainable hydrogen production requires noble metal-free electrocatalysts for water splitting. In this study, we prepared zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIF) decorated with CoFe2O4 spinel nanoparticles as active catalysts for oxygen evolution reaction (OER). The CoFe2O4 nanoparticles were synthesized by converting agricultural bio-waste (potato peel extract) into economically valuable electrode materials. The biogenic CoFe2O4 composite showed an overpotential of 370 mV at a current density of 10 mA cm−2 and a low Tafel slope of 283 mV dec−1, whereas the ZIF@CoFe2O4 composite prepared using an in situ hydrothermal method showed an overpotential of 105 mV at 10 mA cm−2 and a low Tafel slope of 43 mV dec−1 in a 1 M KOH medium. The results demonstrated an exciting prospect of high-performance noble metal-free electrocatalysts for low-cost, high-efficiency, and sustainable hydrogen production. Full article
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20 pages, 3009 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Theranostic Potential of Graphene Quantum Dots in Alzheimer’s Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(11), 9476; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24119476 - 30 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2164
Abstract
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, with no definitive diagnosis or known cure. The aggregation of Tau protein into neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), which contain straight filaments (SFs) and paired helical filaments (PHFs), is a major hallmark of [...] Read more.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, with no definitive diagnosis or known cure. The aggregation of Tau protein into neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), which contain straight filaments (SFs) and paired helical filaments (PHFs), is a major hallmark of AD. Graphene quantum dots (GQDs) are a type of nanomaterial that combat many of the small-molecule therapeutic challenges in AD and have shown promise in similar pathologies. In this study, two sizes of GQDs, GQD7 and GQD28, were docked to various forms of Tau monomers, SFs, and PHFs. From the favorable docked poses, we simulated each system for at least 300 ns and calculated the free energies of binding. We observed a clear preference for GQD28 in the PHF6 (306VQIVYK311) pathological hexapeptide region of monomeric Tau, while GQD7 targeted both the PHF6 and PHF6* (275VQIINK280) pathological hexapeptide regions. In SFs, GQD28 had a high affinity for a binding site that is available in AD but not in other common tauopathies, while GQD7 behaved promiscuously. In PHFs, GQD28 interacted strongly near the protofibril interface at the putative disaggregation site for epigallocatechin-3-gallate, and GQD7 largely interacted with PHF6. Our analyses revealed several key GQD binding sites that may be used for detecting, preventing, and disassembling the Tau aggregates in AD. Full article
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15 pages, 3164 KiB  
Article
Study of the Electronic Interaction between NiO and Short Polythiophene Chains towards Solar Photon Harvesting
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(11), 9109; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24119109 - 23 May 2023
Viewed by 962
Abstract
The sustainable production of energy is a field of interest to which a new requirement is now imposed: the need to be respectful of the environment. New materials and techniques are being developed, but environmental concerns impose the necessity of keeping research active [...] Read more.
The sustainable production of energy is a field of interest to which a new requirement is now imposed: the need to be respectful of the environment. New materials and techniques are being developed, but environmental concerns impose the necessity of keeping research active towards the development of green energy. For this reason, we present the study of short polythiophene (PTh) chains (three and five monomers) and their interaction with nickel oxide, looking for properties related to solar photon harvesting in order to produce electricity. The models of the molecules were developed, and the calculations were performed with an M11-L meta-GGA functional, specially developed for electronic structure calculations. The theoretical explorations demonstrated that the geometry of the PTh molecules suffer little distortion when interacting with the NiO molecule. The calculated value of Eg lies between 2.500 and 0.412 eV for a three-ring PTh chain and between 1.944 and 0.556 eV for a five-ring PTh chain. The chemical parameters indicated that, depending on the geometry of the system, the chemical potential varies from 81.27 to 102.38 kcal/mol and the highest amount of electronic charge varies from −2.94 to 21.56 a.u. for three-monomer systems. For five-monomer systems, the values lie within similar ranges as those of the three-monomer systems. The Partial Density of States (PDOS) showed that the valence and conduction electronic bands were composed of states in the NiO and PTh rings, except for a system where there was a non-bonding interaction. Full article
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13 pages, 6148 KiB  
Article
Near-Infrared Light-Activated Mesoporous Polydopamine for Temporomandibular Joint Osteoarthritis Combined Photothermal-Chemo Therapy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(10), 9055; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24109055 - 21 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1500
Abstract
The treatments generally employed for temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis (TMJOA) involve physical therapy and chemotherapy, etc., whose therapeutic efficacies are impaired by the side effects and suboptimal stimulus responsiveness. Although the intra-articular drug delivery system (DDS) has shown effectiveness in addressing osteoarthritis, there is [...] Read more.
The treatments generally employed for temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis (TMJOA) involve physical therapy and chemotherapy, etc., whose therapeutic efficacies are impaired by the side effects and suboptimal stimulus responsiveness. Although the intra-articular drug delivery system (DDS) has shown effectiveness in addressing osteoarthritis, there is currently little reported research regarding the use of stimuli-responsive DDS in managing TMJOA. Herein, we prepared a novel near-infrared (NIR) light-sensitive DDS (DS-TD/MPDA) by using mesoporous polydopamine nanospheres (MPDA) as NIR responders and drug carriers; diclofenac sodium (DS) as the anti-inflammatory medication; and 1-tetradecanol (TD) with a phase-inversion temperature of 39 °C as the drug administrator. Upon exposure to 808 nm NIR laser, DS-TD/MPDA could raise the temperature up to the melting point of TD through photothermal conversion, and intelligently trigger DS release. The resultant nanospheres exhibited an excellent photothermal effect and effectively controlled the release of DS through laser irradiation to accommodate the multifunctional therapeutic effect. More importantly, the biological evaluation of DS-TD/MPDA for TMJOA treatment was also performed for the first time. The experiments’ results demonstrated that DS-TD/MPDA displayed a good biocompatibility in vitro and in vivo during metabolism. After injection into the TMJ of rats afflicted with TMJOA induced by unilateral anterior crossbite for 14 days, DS-TD/MPDA could alleviate the deterioration of TMJ cartilage, thus ameliorating osteoarthritis. Therefore, DS-TD/MPDA could be a promising candidate for photothermal-chemotherapy for TMJOA. Full article
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19 pages, 4586 KiB  
Article
Ru(II) Oxygen Sensors for Co(III) Complexes and Amphotericin B Antifungal Activity Detection by Phosphorescence Optical Respirometry
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(10), 8744; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24108744 - 14 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1271
Abstract
The measurement of oxygen consumption is an important element in the understanding of an organism’s metabolic state. Oxygen is also a phosphorescence quencher, which allows the evaluation of phosphorescence emitted by oxygen sensors. Two Ru(II)-based oxygen-sensitive sensors were used to study the effect [...] Read more.
The measurement of oxygen consumption is an important element in the understanding of an organism’s metabolic state. Oxygen is also a phosphorescence quencher, which allows the evaluation of phosphorescence emitted by oxygen sensors. Two Ru(II)-based oxygen-sensitive sensors were used to study the effect of chemical compounds [(1) = [CoCl2(dap)2]Cl, and (2) = [CoCl2(en)2]Cl (AmB = amphotericin B) against reference and clinical strains of Candida albicans. The tris-[(4,7-diphenyl-1,10-phenanthroline)ruthenium(II)] chloride ([Ru(DPP)3]Cl2) (Box) adsorbed onto the DavisilTM silica gel was embedded in the silicone rubber Lactite NuvaSil® 5091 and the coating on the bottom of 96-well plates. The water-soluble oxygen sensor (BsOx = tris-[(4,7-diphenyl-1,10-phenanthrolinedisulphonic acid disodium)ruthenium(II)] chloride ‘x’ hydrate = {Ru[DPP(SO3Na)2]3}Cl2 = water molecules were omitted in the BsOx formula) was synthesized and characterized by RP-UHPLC, LCMS, MALDI, elemental analysis, ATR, UV-Vis, 1H NMR, and TG/IR techniques. The microbiological studies were performed in the environment of RPMI broth and blood serum. Both Ru(II)-based sensors turned out to be useful in the study of the activity of Co(III) complexes and the commercial antifungal drug amphotericin B. In addition, a new activity of the oxygen sensor, the soluble Ru(II) complex BsOx, was demonstrated, which is a mixture with amphotericin B that caused a significant increase in its antifungal activity. Thus, it is also possible to demonstrate the synergistic effect of compounds active against the microorganisms under study. Full article
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21 pages, 2286 KiB  
Review
Deep Eutectic Solvents Comprising Organic Acids and Their Application in (Bio)Medicine
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(10), 8492; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24108492 - 09 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2360
Abstract
Over the last years, we observed a significant increase in the number of published studies that focus on the synthesis and characterization of deep eutectic solvents (DESs). These materials are of particular interest mainly due to their physical and chemical stability, low vapor [...] Read more.
Over the last years, we observed a significant increase in the number of published studies that focus on the synthesis and characterization of deep eutectic solvents (DESs). These materials are of particular interest mainly due to their physical and chemical stability, low vapor pressure, ease of synthesis, and the possibility of tailoring their properties through dilution or change of the ratio of parent substances (PS). DESs, considered as one of the greenest families of solvents, are used in many fields, such as organic synthesis, (bio)catalysis, electrochemistry, and (bio)medicine. DESs applications have already been reported in various review articles. However, these reports mainly described these components’ basics and general properties without focusing on the particular, PS-wise, group of DESs. Many DESs investigated for potential (bio)medical applications comprise organic acids. However, due to the different aims of the reported studies, many of these substances have not yet been investigated thoroughly, which makes it challenging for the field to move forward. Herein, we propose distinguishing DESs comprising organic acids (OA-DESs) as a specific group derived from natural deep eutectic solvents (NADESs). This review aims to highlight and compare the applications of OA-DESs as antimicrobial agents and drug delivery enhancers—two essential fields in (bio)medical studies where DESs have already been implemented and proven their potential. From the survey of the literature data, it is evident that OA-DESs represent an excellent type of DESs for specific biomedical applications, owing to their negligible cytotoxicity, fulfilling the rules of green chemistry and being generally effective as drug delivery enhancers and antimicrobial agents. The main focus is on the most intriguing examples and (where possible) application-based comparison of particular groups of OA-DESs. This should highlight the importance of OA-DESs and give valuable clues on the direction the field can take. Full article
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11 pages, 3891 KiB  
Article
Domain Localization by Graphene Oxide in Supported Lipid Bilayers
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(9), 7999; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24097999 - 28 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1377
Abstract
The gel-phase domains in a binary supported lipid bilayer (SLB) comprising dioleoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC) and dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) were localized on graphene oxide (GO) deposited on a SiO2/Si substrate. We investigated the distribution of the gel-phase domains and the liquid crystalline (Lα [...] Read more.
The gel-phase domains in a binary supported lipid bilayer (SLB) comprising dioleoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC) and dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) were localized on graphene oxide (GO) deposited on a SiO2/Si substrate. We investigated the distribution of the gel-phase domains and the liquid crystalline (Lα) phase regions in DOPC+DPPC-SLB on thermally oxidized SiO2/Si substrates with GO flakes to understand the mechanism of the domain localization on GO. Fluorescence microscopy and atomic force microscopy revealed that the gel-phase domains preferably distributed on GO flakes, whereas the fraction of the Lα-phase increased on the bare SiO2 surface which was not covered with the GO flakes. The gel-phase domain was condensed on GO more effectively at the lower cooling rate. We propose that nucleation of the gel-phase domain preferentially occurred on GO, whose surface has amphiphilic property, during the gel-phase domain formation. The domains of the liquid ordered (Lo) phase were also condensed on GO in a ternary bilayer containing cholesterol that was phase-separated to the Lo phase and the liquid disordered phase. Rigid domains segregates on GO during their formation process, leaving fluid components to the surrounding region of GO. Full article
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13 pages, 6108 KiB  
Article
The Encapsulation of Natural Organic Dyes on TiO2 for Photochromism Control
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(9), 7860; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24097860 - 26 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1608
Abstract
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) plays a pivotal role in photocatalytic reactions and holds great promise for the cosmetic and paint industries due to its white color and high refractive index. However, the original color of TiO2 changes gradually to blue or [...] Read more.
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) plays a pivotal role in photocatalytic reactions and holds great promise for the cosmetic and paint industries due to its white color and high refractive index. However, the original color of TiO2 changes gradually to blue or yellow with UV irradiation, which affects its color realization. We encapsulated TiO2 with several natural organic dye compounds, including purpurin, curcumin, and safflower, to control its photochromism and realize a range of different colors. The chemical reaction between TiO2 and dyes based on their functional group was investigated, and the light absorption was tested via FTIR and UV–Vis spectroscopy. The changes in morphology and size distribution additionally supported their successful encapsulation. The discoloration after UV irradiation was evaluated by measuring the color difference (ΔE) of control TiO2 and dye encapsulated TiO2. The unique structure utilized natural dyes to preserve photochromism based on the physical barrier and automatically controlled the electronic transition of core TiO2. In particular, the color difference values of purpurin and curcumin were 4.05 and 3.76, which is lower than the 5.36 of the control TiO2. Dye encapsulated TiO2 was manipulated into lipstick to verify its color realization and retention. Full article
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11 pages, 3638 KiB  
Article
Molecule Clustering Dynamics in the Molecular Doping Process of Si(111) with Diethyl-propyl-phosphonate
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(8), 6877; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24086877 - 07 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1405
Abstract
The molecular doping (MD) process is based on the deposition of dopant-containing molecules over the surface of a semiconductor substrate, followed by the thermal diffusion step. Previous studies suggest that, during the deposition, the molecules nucleate clusters, and at prolonged deposition times, they [...] Read more.
The molecular doping (MD) process is based on the deposition of dopant-containing molecules over the surface of a semiconductor substrate, followed by the thermal diffusion step. Previous studies suggest that, during the deposition, the molecules nucleate clusters, and at prolonged deposition times, they grow into self-assembled layers on the sample to be doped. Little is known about the influence of nucleation kinetics on the final properties of these layers and how they change when we modify the solution properties. In this work, we examine the nucleation rate and the molecular surface coverage kinetics of diethyl-propyl phosphonate on silicon at different solution concentrations and how these conditions influence the final electrical properties of the doped samples. We present a high-resolution morphological characterization of the as-deposited molecules together with the electrical results of the final doped samples. The experimental results show a non-obvious behavior, explained through understanding of the competition between the molecules’ physisorption and chemisorption mechanisms. As a consequence, due to the deeper knowledge of the deposition phase, a finer tuning of the conductive properties of MD-doped samples is achieved. Full article
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15 pages, 2959 KiB  
Article
Bioglues Based on an Elastin-Like Recombinamer: Effect of Tannic Acid as an Additive on Tissue Adhesion and Cytocompatibility
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(7), 6776; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24076776 - 05 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1989
Abstract
More than 260 million surgical procedures are performed worldwide each year. Although sutures and staples are widely used to reconnect tissues, they can cause further damage and increase the risk of infection. Bioadhesives have been proposed as an alternative to reconnect tissues. However, [...] Read more.
More than 260 million surgical procedures are performed worldwide each year. Although sutures and staples are widely used to reconnect tissues, they can cause further damage and increase the risk of infection. Bioadhesives have been proposed as an alternative to reconnect tissues. However, clinical adhesives that combine strong adhesion with cytocompatibility have yet to be developed. In this study, we explored the production of adhesives based on protein-engineered polymers bioinspired by the sequence of elastin (i.e., elastin-like recombinamers, ELRs). We hypothesized that the combination of polyphenols (i.e., tannic acid, TA) and ELRs would produce an adhesive coacervate (ELR+TA), as reported for other protein polymers such as silk fibroin (SF). Notably, the adhesion of ELR alone surpassed that of ELR+TA. Indeed, ELR alone achieved adhesive strengths of 88.8 ± 33.2 kPa and 17.0 ± 2.0 kPa on porcine bone and skin tissues, respectively. This surprising result led us to explore a multicomponent bioadhesive to encompass the complementary roles of elastin (mimicked here by ELR) and silk fibroin (SF), and subsequently mirror more closely the multicomponent nature of the extracellular matrix. Tensile testing showed that ELR+SF achieved an adhesive strength of 123.3 ± 60.2 kPa on porcine bone and excellent cytocompatibility. To express this in a more visual and intuitive way, a small surface of only 2.5 cm2 was able to lift at least 2 kg of weight. This opens the door for further studies focusing on the ability of protein-engineered polymers to adhere to biological tissues without further chemical modification for applications in tissue engineering. Full article
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17 pages, 3753 KiB  
Article
High-Order Harmonics Generation in MoS2 Transition Metal Dichalcogenides: Effect of Nickel and Carbon Nanotube Dopants
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(7), 6540; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24076540 - 31 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1820
Abstract
The transition metal dichalcogenides have instigated a lot of interest as harmonic generators due to their exceptional nonlinear optical properties. Here, the molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) molecular structures with dopants being in a plasma state are used to demonstrate the generation of [...] Read more.
The transition metal dichalcogenides have instigated a lot of interest as harmonic generators due to their exceptional nonlinear optical properties. Here, the molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) molecular structures with dopants being in a plasma state are used to demonstrate the generation of intense high-order harmonics. The MoS2 nanoflakes and nickel-doped MoS2 nanoflakes produced stronger harmonics with higher cut-offs compared with Mo bulk and MoS2 bulk. Conversely, the MoS2 with nickel nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes (MoS2-NiCNT) produced weaker coherent XUV emissions than other materials, which is attributed to the influence of phase mismatch. The influence of heating and driving pulse intensities on the harmonic yield and cut-off energies are investigated in MoS2 molecular structures. The enhanced coherent extreme ultraviolet emission at ~32 nm (38 eV) due to the 4p-4d resonant transitions is obtained from all aforementioned molecular structures, except for MoS2-NiCNT. Full article
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17 pages, 7747 KiB  
Article
Microstructural and Mechanical Characterization of Al Nanocomposites Using GCNs as a Reinforcement Fabricated by Induction Sintering
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(6), 5558; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24065558 - 14 Mar 2023
Viewed by 997
Abstract
High-energy ball milling is a process suitable for producing composite powders whose achieved microstructure can be controlled by the processing parameters. Through this technique, it is possible to obtain a homogeneous distribution of reinforced material into a ductile metal matrix. In this work, [...] Read more.
High-energy ball milling is a process suitable for producing composite powders whose achieved microstructure can be controlled by the processing parameters. Through this technique, it is possible to obtain a homogeneous distribution of reinforced material into a ductile metal matrix. In this work, some Al/CGNs nanocomposites were fabricated through a high-energy ball mill to disperse nanostructured graphite reinforcements produced in situ in the Al matrix. To retain the dispersed CGNs in the Al matrix, avoiding the precipitation of the Al4C3 phase during sintering, the high-frequency induction sintering (HFIS) method was used, which allows rapid heating rates. For comparative purposes, samples in the green and sintered state processed in a conventional electric furnace (CFS) were used. Microhardness testing was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the reinforcement in samples under different processing conditions. Structural analyses were carried out through an X-ray diffractometer coupled with a convolutional multiple whole profile (CMWP) fitting program to determine the crystallite size and dislocation density; both strengthening contributions were calculated using the Langford–Cohen and Taylor equations. According to the results, the CGNs dispersed in the Al matrix played an important role in the reinforcement of the Al matrix, promoting the increase in the dislocation density during the milling process. The strengthening contribution of the dislocation density was ~50% of the total hardening value, while the contribution by dispersion of CGNs was ~22% in samples with 3 wt. % C and sintered by the HFIS method. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used to analyze the morphology, size, and distribution of phases present in the Al matrix. From the analyses carried out in AFM (topography and phase images), the CGNs are located mainly around crystallites and present height profiles of 1.6 to 2 nm. Full article
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21 pages, 5149 KiB  
Article
Application of Pyrolysis for the Evaluation of Organic Compounds in Medical Plastic Waste Generated in the City of Cartagena-Colombia Applying TG-GC/MS
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(6), 5397; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24065397 - 11 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2193
Abstract
In this study, the thermal degradation and pyrolysis of hospital plastic waste consisting of polyethylene (PE), polystyrene (PS), and polypropylene (PP) were investigated using TG-GC/MS. The identified molecules with the functional groups of alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, alcohols, aromatics, phenols, CO and CO2 [...] Read more.
In this study, the thermal degradation and pyrolysis of hospital plastic waste consisting of polyethylene (PE), polystyrene (PS), and polypropylene (PP) were investigated using TG-GC/MS. The identified molecules with the functional groups of alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, alcohols, aromatics, phenols, CO and CO2 were found in the gas stream from pyrolysis and oxidation, and are chemical structures with derivatives of aromatic rings. They are mainly related to the degradation of PS hospital waste, and the alkanes and alkenes groups originate mainly from PP and PE-based medical waste. The pyrolysis of this hospital waste did not show the presence of derivatives of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans, which is an advantage over classical incineration methodologies. CO, CO2, phenol, acetic acid and benzoic acid concentrations were higher in the gases from the oxidative degradation than in those generated in the pyrolysis with helium. In this article, we propose different pathways of reaction mechanisms that allow us to explain the presence of molecules with other functional groups, such as alkanes, alkenes, carboxylic acids, alcohols, aromatics and permanent gases. Full article
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16 pages, 1817 KiB  
Communication
Aptamers as Novel Binding Molecules on an Antimicrobial Peptide-Armored Composite Hydrogel Wound Dressing for Specific Removal and Efficient Eradication of Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(5), 4800; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24054800 - 02 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3892
Abstract
Here we present for the first time a potential wound dressing material implementing aptamers as binding entities to remove pathogenic cells from newly contaminated surfaces of wound matrix-mimicking collagen gels. The model pathogen in this study was the Gram-negative opportunistic bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa [...] Read more.
Here we present for the first time a potential wound dressing material implementing aptamers as binding entities to remove pathogenic cells from newly contaminated surfaces of wound matrix-mimicking collagen gels. The model pathogen in this study was the Gram-negative opportunistic bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which represents a considerable health threat in hospital environments as a cause of severe infections of burn or post-surgery wounds. A two-layered hydrogel composite material was constructed based on an established eight-membered focused anti-P. aeruginosa polyclonal aptamer library, which was chemically crosslinked to the material surface to form a trapping zone for efficient binding of the pathogen. A drug-loaded zone of the composite released the C14R antimicrobial peptide to deliver it directly to the bound pathogenic cells. We demonstrate that this material combining aptamer-mediated affinity and peptide-dependent pathogen eradication can quantitatively remove bacterial cells from the “wound” surface, and we show that the surface-trapped bacteria are completely killed. The drug delivery function of the composite thus represents an extra safeguarding property and thus probably one of the most important additional advances of a next-generation or smart wound dressing ensuring the complete removal and/or eradication of the pathogen of a freshly infected wound. Full article
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19 pages, 14177 KiB  
Article
Intracellular Nitric Oxide and cAMP Are Involved in Cellulolytic Enzyme Production in Neurospora crassa
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(5), 4503; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24054503 - 24 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1351
Abstract
Although molecular regulation of cellulolytic enzyme production in filamentous fungi has been actively explored, the underlying signaling processes in fungal cells are still not clearly understood. In this study, the molecular signaling mechanism regulating cellulase production in Neurospora crassa was investigated. We found [...] Read more.
Although molecular regulation of cellulolytic enzyme production in filamentous fungi has been actively explored, the underlying signaling processes in fungal cells are still not clearly understood. In this study, the molecular signaling mechanism regulating cellulase production in Neurospora crassa was investigated. We found that the transcription and extracellular cellulolytic activity of four cellulolytic enzymes (cbh1, gh6-2, gh5-1, and gh3-4) increased in Avicel (microcrystalline cellulose) medium. Intracellular nitric oxide (NO) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) detected by fluorescent dyes were observed in larger areas of fungal hyphae grown in Avicel medium compared to those grown in glucose medium. The transcription of the four cellulolytic enzyme genes in fungal hyphae grown in Avicel medium was significantly decreased and increased after NO was intracellularly removed and extracellularly added, respectively. Furthermore, we found that the cyclic AMP (cAMP) level in fungal cells was significantly decreased after intracellular NO removal, and the addition of cAMP could enhance cellulolytic enzyme activity. Taken together, our data suggest that the increase in intracellular NO in response to cellulose in media may have promoted the transcription of cellulolytic enzymes and participated in the elevation of intracellular cAMP, eventually leading to improved extracellular cellulolytic enzyme activity. Full article
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12 pages, 3713 KiB  
Article
Significance of MnO2 Type and Solution Parameters in Manganese Removal from Water Solution
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(5), 4448; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24054448 - 23 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1740
Abstract
A very low concentration of manganese (Mn) in water is a critical issue for municipal and industrial water supply systems. Mn removal technology is based on the use of manganese oxides (MnOx), especially manganese dioxide (MnO2) polymorphs, under different [...] Read more.
A very low concentration of manganese (Mn) in water is a critical issue for municipal and industrial water supply systems. Mn removal technology is based on the use of manganese oxides (MnOx), especially manganese dioxide (MnO2) polymorphs, under different conditions of pH and ionic strength (water salinity). The statistical significance of the impact of polymorph type (akhtenskite ε-MnO2, birnessite δ-MnO2, cryptomelane α-MnO2 and pyrolusite β-MnO2), pH (2–9) and ionic strength (1–50 mmol/L) of solution on the adsorption level of Mn was investigated. The analysis of variance and the non-parametric Kruskal–Wallis H test were applied. Before and after Mn adsorption, the tested polymorphs were characterized using X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscope techniques and gas porosimetry analysis. Here we demonstrated the significant differences in adsorption level between MnO2 polymorphs’ type and pH; however, the statistical analysis proves that the type of MnO2 has a four times stronger influence. There was no statistical significance for the ionic strength parameter. We showed that the high adsorption of Mn on the poorly crystalline polymorphs leads to the blockage of micropores in akhtenskite and, contrary, causes the development of the surface structure of birnessite. At the same time, no changes in the surfaces of cryptomelane and pyrolusite, the highly crystalline polymorphs, were found due to the very small loading by the adsorbate. Full article
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26 pages, 3485 KiB  
Review
The Integration of Biopolymer-Based Materials for Energy Storage Applications: A Review
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(4), 3975; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24043975 - 16 Feb 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3111
Abstract
Biopolymers are an emerging class of novel materials with diverse applications and properties such as superior sustainability and tunability. Here, applications of biopolymers are described in the context of energy storage devices, namely lithium-based batteries, zinc-based batteries, and capacitors. Current demand for energy [...] Read more.
Biopolymers are an emerging class of novel materials with diverse applications and properties such as superior sustainability and tunability. Here, applications of biopolymers are described in the context of energy storage devices, namely lithium-based batteries, zinc-based batteries, and capacitors. Current demand for energy storage technologies calls for improved energy density, preserved performance overtime, and more sustainable end-of-life behavior. Lithium-based and zinc-based batteries often face anode corrosion from processes such as dendrite formation. Capacitors typically struggle with achieving functional energy density caused by an inability to efficiently charge and discharge. Both classes of energy storage need to be packaged with sustainable materials due to their potential leakages of toxic metals. In this review paper, recent progress in energy applications is described for biocompatible polymers such as silk, keratin, collagen, chitosan, cellulose, and agarose. Fabrication techniques are described for various components of the battery/capacitors including the electrode, electrolyte, and separators with biopolymers. Of these methods, incorporating the porosity found within various biopolymers is commonly used to maximize ion transport in the electrolyte and prevent dendrite formations in lithium-based, zinc-based batteries, and capacitors. Overall, integrating biopolymers in energy storage solutions poses a promising alternative that can theoretically match traditional energy sources while eliminating harmful consequences to the environment. Full article
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22 pages, 989 KiB  
Article
Enzyme Conditioning of Chicken Collagen and Taguchi Design of Experiments Enhancing the Yield and Quality of Prepared Gelatins
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(4), 3654; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24043654 - 11 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1520
Abstract
During the production of mechanically deboned chicken meat (MDCM), a by-product is created that has no adequate use and is mostly disposed of in rendering plants. Due to the high content of collagen, it is a suitable raw material for the production of [...] Read more.
During the production of mechanically deboned chicken meat (MDCM), a by-product is created that has no adequate use and is mostly disposed of in rendering plants. Due to the high content of collagen, it is a suitable raw material for the production of gelatin and hydrolysates. The purpose of the paper was to process the MDCM by-product into gelatin by 3-step extraction. An innovative method was used to prepare the starting raw material for gelatin extraction, demineralization in HCl, and conditioning with a proteolytic enzyme. A Taguchi design with two process factors (extraction temperature and extraction time) was used at three levels (42, 46, and 50 °C; 20, 40, and 60 min) to optimize the processing of the MDCM by-product into gelatins. The gel-forming and surface properties of the prepared gelatins were analyzed in detail. Depending on the processing conditions, gelatins are prepared with a gel strength of up to 390 Bloom, a viscosity of 0.9–6.8 mPa·s, a melting point of 29.9–38.4 °C, a gelling point of 14.9–17.6 °C, excellent water- and fat-holding capacity, and good foaming and emulsifying capacity and stability. The advantage of MDCM by-product processing technology is a very high degree of conversion (up to 77%) of the starting collagen raw material to gelatins and the preparation of 3 qualitatively different gelatin fractions suitable for a wide range of food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic applications. Gelatins prepared from MDCM by-product can expand the offer of gelatins from other than beef and pork tissues. Full article
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15 pages, 3478 KiB  
Article
Insight into the Molecule Impact of Critical-Sized UHMWPE-ALN Wear Particles on Cells by the Alginate-Encapsulated Cell Reactor
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(4), 3510; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24043510 - 09 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1596
Abstract
Wear particles of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) are inevitable during service as joint prosthesis, and particles ≤ 10 μm with critical size could cause serious osteolysis and aseptic loosening of joint prosthesis. The aim of this study is to adopt the alginate-encapsulated [...] Read more.
Wear particles of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) are inevitable during service as joint prosthesis, and particles ≤ 10 μm with critical size could cause serious osteolysis and aseptic loosening of joint prosthesis. The aim of this study is to adopt the alginate-encapsulated cell reactor to investigate the molecular impact of critical-sized wear particles of UHMWPE loaded with alendronate sodium (UHMWPE-ALN) on cells. Results showed that compared with UHMWPE wear particles, UHMWPE-ALN wear particles inhibited the proliferation of macrophages significantly after being co-cultured for 1, 4, 7, and 14 d. Furthermore, the released ALN promoted early apoptosis, suppressed the secretion of TNF-α and IL-6 of macrophages, and down-regulated relative gene expressions of TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-1β and RANK. In addition, compared with UHMWPE wear particles, UHMWPE-ALN wear particles promoted the ALP activity of osteoblasts, down-regulated the gene expression of RANKL, and up-regulated gene expression of osteoprotegerin. There were mainly two approaches of the effects of critical-sized UHMWPE-ALN wear particles on cells, one of which was cytology and the other was cytokine signal pathway. The former mainly affected the proliferation and activity of macrophages and osteoblasts. The latter would inhibit osteoclasts via cytokine and RANKL/RANK signal pathway. Thus, UHMWPE-ALN had the potential application in clinics to treat osteolysis induced by wear particles. Full article
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20 pages, 3198 KiB  
Article
Unusual Square Pyramidal Chalcogenide Mo5 Cluster with Bridging Pyrazolate-Ligands
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(4), 3440; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24043440 - 08 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1640
Abstract
The family of chalcogenide molybdenum clusters is well presented in the literature by a series of compounds of nuclearity ranging from binuclear to multinuclear articulating octahedral fragments. Clusters actively studied in the last decades were shown to be promising as components of superconducting, [...] Read more.
The family of chalcogenide molybdenum clusters is well presented in the literature by a series of compounds of nuclearity ranging from binuclear to multinuclear articulating octahedral fragments. Clusters actively studied in the last decades were shown to be promising as components of superconducting, magnetic, and catalytic systems. Here, we report the synthesis and detailed characterization of new and unusual representatives of chalcogenide clusters: square pyramidal complexes [{Mo53-Se)i44-Se)i(μ-pz)i4}(pzH)t5]1+/2+ (pzH = pyrazole, i = inner, t = terminal). Individually obtained oxidized (2+) and reduced (1+) forms have very close geometry (proven by single-crystal X-ray diffraction analysis) and are able to reversibly transform into each other, which was confirmed by cyclic voltammetry. Comprehensive characterization of the complexes, both in solid and in solution, confirms the different charge state of molybdenum in clusters (XPS), magnetic properties (EPR), and so on. DFT calculations complement the diverse study of new complexes, expanding the chemistry of molybdenum chalcogenide clusters. Full article
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22 pages, 3812 KiB  
Article
Response Surface Methodology to Efficiently Optimize Intracellular Delivery by Photoporation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(4), 3147; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24043147 - 05 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2338
Abstract
Photoporation is an up-and-coming technology for the gentle and efficient transfection of cells. Inherent to the application of photoporation is the optimization of several process parameters, such as laser fluence and sensitizing particle concentration, which is typically done one factor at a time [...] Read more.
Photoporation is an up-and-coming technology for the gentle and efficient transfection of cells. Inherent to the application of photoporation is the optimization of several process parameters, such as laser fluence and sensitizing particle concentration, which is typically done one factor at a time (OFAT). However, this approach is tedious and runs the risk of missing a global optimum. Therefore, in this study, we explored whether response surface methodology (RSM) would allow for more efficient optimization of the photoporation procedure. As a case study, FITC-dextran molecules of 500 kDa were delivered to RAW264.7 mouse macrophage-like cells, making use of polydopamine nanoparticles (PDNPs) as photoporation sensitizers. Parameters that were varied to obtain an optimal delivery yield were PDNP size, PDNP concentration and laser fluence. Two established RSM designs were compared: the central composite design and the Box-Behnken design. Model fitting was followed by statistical assessment, validation, and response surface analysis. Both designs successfully identified a delivery yield optimum five- to eight-fold more efficiently than when using OFAT methodology while revealing a strong dependence on PDNP size within the design space. In conclusion, RSM proves to be a valuable approach to efficiently optimize photoporation conditions for a particular cell type. Full article
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16 pages, 2625 KiB  
Article
Mechanical Properties of Twisted Carbon Nanotube Bundles with Carbon Linkers from Molecular Dynamics Simulations
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(3), 2473; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24032473 - 27 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1564
Abstract
The manufacturing of high-modulus, high-strength fibers is of paramount importance for real-world, high-end applications. In this respect, carbon nanotubes represent the ideal candidates for realizing such fibers. However, their remarkable mechanical performance is difficult to bring up to the macroscale, due to the [...] Read more.
The manufacturing of high-modulus, high-strength fibers is of paramount importance for real-world, high-end applications. In this respect, carbon nanotubes represent the ideal candidates for realizing such fibers. However, their remarkable mechanical performance is difficult to bring up to the macroscale, due to the low load transfer within the fiber. A strategy to increase such load transfer is the introduction of chemical linkers connecting the units, which can be obtained, for example, using carbon ion-beam irradiation. In this work, we investigate, via molecular dynamics simulations, the mechanical properties of twisted nanotube bundles in which the linkers are composed of interstitial single carbon atoms. We find a significant interplay between the twist and the percentage of linkers. Finally, we evaluate the suitability of two different force fields for the description of these systems: the dihedral-angle-corrected registry-dependent potential, which we couple for non-bonded interaction with either the AIREBO potential or the screened potential ReboScr2. We show that both of these potentials show some shortcomings in the investigation of the mechanical properties of bundles with carbon linkers. Full article
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13 pages, 7282 KiB  
Article
An In-Situ Fabrication Method of ZnO and Other Zn(II) Compounds Containing Polypropylene Composites
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(3), 2357; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24032357 - 25 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1696
Abstract
This study investigated the methods of preparation of zinc oxide-polypropylene nanocomposites and their antibacterial properties. Seven solutions with ZnO nanoparticles or zinc ions were formulated as a PP additive. Two methods of ZnO NPs syntheses were carried out: (1) a modified hydrothermal method [...] Read more.
This study investigated the methods of preparation of zinc oxide-polypropylene nanocomposites and their antibacterial properties. Seven solutions with ZnO nanoparticles or zinc ions were formulated as a PP additive. Two methods of ZnO NPs syntheses were carried out: (1) a modified hydrothermal method where a water solution of zinc acetate dihydrate, PEI, and ammonia were mixed with a final pH 11; (2) a thermal decomposition of a water solution of zinc acetate in the presence of PEI and ammonia using a two-screw extruder. During the experiments, the influence of various amounts of particle stabilizer, heating of the solutions, and the temperatures of the syntheses were examined. As a result, the simultaneous crystallization of ZnO in the extrusion process confirmed this method’s attractiveness from the application point of view. Fabricated PP-ZnO composite shows antibacterial properties against Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Full article
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23 pages, 9773 KiB  
Article
High Temperature CO2 Capture Performance and Kinetic Analysis of Novel Potassium Stannate
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(3), 2321; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24032321 - 24 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1598
Abstract
For the first time, the use of stannate-based sorbents was investigated as high temperature CO2 sorption to evaluate their potential to contribute towards reducing carbon emissions. The sorption capacity and kinetics of commercial tin oxide, sodium, potassium and calcium stannates and lab [...] Read more.
For the first time, the use of stannate-based sorbents was investigated as high temperature CO2 sorption to evaluate their potential to contribute towards reducing carbon emissions. The sorption capacity and kinetics of commercial tin oxide, sodium, potassium and calcium stannates and lab synthesised potassium stannates were tested using thermogravimetric analysis. Commercial K2SnO3 was found to possess the largest CO2 uptake capacity (2.77 mmol CO2/g or 12.2 wt%) at 700 °C, which is among the highest for potassium sorbents, but the CO2 desorption was not successful. On the contrary, the in-house synthesised K-stannate (K-B) using facile solid-state synthesis outperformed the other sorbents, resulting in a CO2 uptake of 7.3 wt% after 5 min, an adsorption rate (0.016 mg/s) one order of magnitude higher than the other stannates, and stability after 40 cycles. The XRD and XPS analyses showed that K-B contains a mixture of K2SnO3 (76%) and K4SnO4 (21%), while the Scherrer crystal sizes confirmed good resistance to sintering for the potassium stannates. Among the apparent kinetic model tested, the pseudo-second order model was the most suitable to predict the CO2 sorption process of K-B, indicating that chemical adsorption is dominant, while film-diffusion resistance and intra-particle diffusion resistance governed the sorption process in K-B. In summary, this work shows that solid-state synthesised potassium stannate could be an effective sorbent for high temperature separation, and additional work is required to further elucidate its potential. Full article
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13 pages, 4969 KiB  
Article
Insight into the Varying Reactivity of Different Catalysts for CO2 Cycloaddition into Styrene Oxide: An Experimental and DFT Study
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(3), 2123; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24032123 - 20 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1519
Abstract
The cycloaddition of CO2 into epoxides to form cyclic carbonates is a highly sought-after reaction for its potential to both reduce and use CO2, which is a greenhouse gas. In this paper, we present experimental and theoretical studies and a [...] Read more.
The cycloaddition of CO2 into epoxides to form cyclic carbonates is a highly sought-after reaction for its potential to both reduce and use CO2, which is a greenhouse gas. In this paper, we present experimental and theoretical studies and a mechanistic approach for three catalytic systems. First, as Lewis base catalysts, imidazole and its derivatives, then as a Lewis acid catalyst, ZnI2 alone, and after that, the combined system of ZnI2 and imidazole. In the former, we aimed to discover the reasons for the varied reactivities of five Lewis base catalysts. Furthermore, we succeeded in reproducing the experimental results and trends using DFT. To add, we emphasized the importance of non-covalent interactions and their role in reactivity. In our case, the presence of a hydrogen bond was a key factor in decreasing the reactivity of some catalysts, thus leading to lower conversion rates. Finally, mechanistically understanding this 100% atom economy reaction can aid experimental chemists in designing better and more efficient catalytic systems. Full article
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