Guide Plenty of Room for Biology at the Bottom: An Introduction to Bionanotechnology

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Microorganisms can change the oxidation state of metals. These microbial processes have opened up new opportunities for us to explore novel applications, for example, the biosynthesis of metal nanomaterials. In contrast to chemical and physical methods, microbial processes for synthesizing nanomaterials can be achieved in aqueous phase under gentle and environmentally benign conditions. This approach has become an attractive focus in current green bionanotechnology research towards sustainable development. The terms are often used interchangeably.

Plenty of Room for Biology at the Bottom. An Introduction to Bionanotechnology. By Ehud Gazit.

When a distinction is intended, though, it is based on whether the focus is on applying biological ideas or on studying biology with nanotechnology. Bionanotechnology generally refers to the study of how the goals of nanotechnology can be guided by studying how biological "machines" work and adapting these biological motifs into improving existing nanotechnologies or creating new ones.

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In other words, nanobiotechnology is essentially miniaturized biotechnology , whereas bionanotechnology is a specific application of nanotechnology. For example, DNA nanotechnology or cellular engineering would be classified as bionanotechnology because they involve working with biomolecules on the nanoscale. Conversely, many new medical technologies involving nanoparticles as delivery systems or as sensors would be examples of nanobiotechnology since they involve using nanotechnology to advance the goals of biology.

The definitions enumerated above will be utilized whenever a distinction between nanobio and bionano is made in this article. However, given the overlapping usage of the terms in modern parlance, individual technologies may need to be evaluated to determine which term is more fitting.

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As such, they are best discussed in parallel. Most of the scientific concepts in bionanotechnology are derived from other fields. Biochemical principles that are used to understand the material properties of biological systems are central in bionanotechnology because those same principles are to be used to create new technologies. Material properties and applications studied in bionanoscience include mechanical properties e. DNA computing and agriculture target delivery of pesticides, hormones and fertilizers. Nano-biotechnology takes most of its fundamentals from nanotechnology.

Most of the devices designed for nano-biotechnological use are directly based on other existing nanotechnologies. Nano-biotechnology is often used to describe the overlapping multidisciplinary activities associated with biosensors, particularly where photonics , chemistry, biology, biophysics, nano-medicine, and engineering converge. Measurement in biology using wave guide techniques, such as dual polarization interferometry , are another example.

Applications of bionanotechnology are extremely widespread. Insofar as the distinction holds, nanobiotechnology is much more commonplace in that it simply provides more tools for the study of biology. Bionanotechnology, on the other hand, promises to recreate biological mechanisms and pathways in a form that is useful in other ways. Nanomedicine is a field of medical science whose applications are increasing more and more thanks to nanorobots and biological machines , which constitute a very useful tool to develop this area of knowledge.

In the past years, researchers have made many improvements in the different devices and systems required to develop nanorobots. This supposes a new way of treating and dealing with diseases such as cancer; thanks to nanorobots, side effects of chemotherapy have been controlled, reduced and even eliminated, so some years from now, cancer patients will be offered an alternative to treat this disease instead of chemotherapy, which causes secondary effects such as hair loss, fatigue or nausea killing not only cancerous cells but also the healthy ones.

At a clinical level, cancer treatment with nanomedicine will consist of the supply of nanorobots to the patient through an injection that will search for cancerous cells while leaving untouched the healthy ones.

Patients that will be treated through nanomedicine will not notice the presence of these nanomachines inside them; the only thing that is going to be noticeable is the progressive improvement of their health. Nanobiotechnology sometimes referred to as nanobiology is best described as helping modern medicine progress from treating symptoms to generating cures and regenerating biological tissues.

Three American patients have received whole cultured bladders with the help of doctors who use nanobiology techniques in their practice. Also, it has been demonstrated in animal studies that a uterus can be grown outside the body and then placed in the body in order to produce a baby.

Stem cell treatments have been used to fix diseases that are found in the human heart and are in clinical trials in the United States.

Plenty of room for biology at the bottom : an introduction to bionanotechnology - Semantic Scholar

There is also funding for research into allowing people to have new limbs without having to resort to prosthesis. Artificial proteins might also become available to manufacture without the need for harsh chemicals and expensive machines. It has even been surmised that by the year , computers may be made out of biochemicals and organic salts. Another example of current nanobiotechnological research involves nanospheres coated with fluorescent polymers. Researchers are seeking to design polymers whose fluorescence is quenched when they encounter specific molecules.

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Different polymers would detect different metabolites. The polymer-coated spheres could become part of new biological assays, and the technology might someday lead to particles which could be introduced into the human body to track down metabolites associated with tumors and other health problems. Another example, from a different perspective, would be evaluation and therapy at the nanoscopic level, i. While nanobiology is in its infancy, there are a lot of promising methods that will rely on nanobiology in the future. Biological systems are inherently nano in scale; nanoscience must merge with biology in order to deliver biomacromolecules and molecular machines that are similar to nature.

Controlling and mimicking the devices and processes that are constructed from molecules is a tremendous challenge to face the converging disciplines of nanotechnology. Natural evolution has optimized the "natural" form of nanobiology over millions of years.

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In the 21st century, humans have developed the technology to artificially tap into nanobiology. This process is best described as "organic merging with synthetic. Gunther Gross at the University of North Texas. Self-assembling nanotubes have the ability to be used as a structural system. They would be composed together with rhodopsins ; which would facilitate the optical computing process and help with the storage of biological materials. DNA as the software for all living things can be used as a structural proteomic system - a logical component for molecular computing.

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Ned Seeman - a researcher at New York University - along with other researchers are currently researching concepts that are similar to each other. DNA nanotechnology is one important example of bionanotechnology. Another important area of research involves taking advantage of membrane properties to generate synthetic membranes.

Proteins that self-assemble to generate functional materials could be used as a novel approach for the large-scale production of programmable nanomaterials. One example is the development of amyloids found in bacterial biofilms as engineered nanomaterials that can be programmed genetically to have different properties.

Given the myriad uses that biological systems have for proteins, though, research into understanding protein folding is of high importance and could prove fruitful for bionanotechnology in the future. Lipid nanotechnology is another major area of research in bionanotechnology, where physico-chemical properties of lipids such as their antifouling and self-assembly is exploited to build nanodevices with applications in medicine and engineering.

Nanotechnology application to biotechnology leaves no field untouched by its groundbreaking scientific innovations for human wellness; the agricultural industry is no exception. Basically, nanomaterials are distinguished depending on the origin: natural, incidental and engineered nanoparticles. Among these, engineered nanoparticles have received wide attention in all fields of science, including medical, materials and agriculture technology with significant socio-economical growth.

Javascript is not enabled in your browser. Enabling JavaScript in your browser will allow you to experience all the features of our site. Learn how to enable JavaScript on your browser. Written by a leading nanobiologist actively involved at the forefront of the field both as a researcher and an educator, this book takes the reader from the fundamentals of nanobiology to the most advanced applications.

The book is written in such a way as to be accessible to biologists and chemists with no background in nanotechnology. It is reader-friendly and will appeal to a wide audience not only in academia but also in the industry and anyone interested in learning more about nanobiotechnology. The book includes a glossary and a selected list of companies actively involved in nanobiotechnology and will be an important reference for those interested in the application aspects of the field.

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