Interactions between Metal Oxides and Biomolecules: From Fundamental Understanding to Applications

Marion J. Limo, Anna Sola-Rabada, Estefania Boix, Veeranjaneyulu Thota, Zayd C. Westcott, Valeria Puddu, Carole C. Perry*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
217 Downloads (Pure)


Metallo-oxide (MO)-based bioinorganic nanocomposites promise unique structures, physicochemical properties, and novel biochemical functionalities, and within the past decade, investment in research on materials such as ZnO, TiO2, SiO2, and GeO2 has significantly increased. Besides traditional approaches, the synthesis, shaping, structural patterning, and postprocessing chemical functionalization of the materials surface is inspired by strategies which mimic processes in nature. Would such materials deliver new technologies? Answering this question requires the merging of historical knowledge and current research from different fields of science. Practically, we need an effective defragmentation of the research area. From our perspective, the superficial accounting of material properties, chemistry of the surfaces, and the behavior of biomolecules next to such surfaces is a problem. This is particularly of concern when we wish to bridge between technologies in vitro and biotechnologies in vivo. Further, besides the potential practical technological efficiency and advantages such materials might exhibit, we have to consider the wider long-term implications of material stability and toxicity. In this contribution, we present a critical review of recent advances in the chemistry and engineering of MO-based biocomposites, highlighting the role of interactions at the interface and the techniques by which these can be studied. At the end of the article, we outline the challenges which hamper progress in research and extrapolate to developing and promising directions including additive manufacturing and synthetic biology that could benefit from molecular level understanding of interactions occurring between inanimate (abiotic) and living (biotic) materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11118–11193
JournalChemical Reviews
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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