Researchers at Nottingham Trent University in the UK are using the Zetasizer
Nano ZS particle characterization system from Malvern
Instruments in work that has demonstrated the predominantly electrostatic
nature of protein-aluminium interactions. This advance brings science a step
closer towards being able to build novel aluminium-composite materials using
naturally occurring biological processes.
Using biological processes to engineer nano-composite material structure is
referred to as biomimetic-nanotectonic manipulation. By combining aluminium
nanoparticles with proteins the Nottingham scientists took advantage of spontaneous
biological assembly to fabricate highly organized structures called Keggin ions.
These ions are the building blocks for advanced aluminium materials with highly
specific properties used in applications such as antiperspirants, biosensors,
environmental control systems and biomedical devices.
Manipulation of materials combining biological molecules with nanoparticles
relies heavily on understanding interparticle interactions. The effects of surface
charge on the participating particles and surrounding media dominate many of
these. Researchers Olivier Deschaume, Kirill Shafran and Carole Perry reported
on the effects of a model protein, bovine serum albumin (BSA), on the generation
and properties of hybrid Al-protein composite materials formed from various
high-purity, Al-containing, aqueous nanosized precursors.
The Zetasizer Nano ZS from Malvern Instruments makes particle size measurements,
down to nano- and sub-nanometer ranges possible using dynamic light scattering.
Using this system the research team achieved the sensitivity required to characterize
the effect of aluminium hydroxide's surface charge on predominantly electrostatic
interactions with the model protein. The full report can be freely downloaded
as an Application Note from the Malvern Instruments website at www.malvern.com/aluminium_nanoclusters