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Biocatalytic modification of functionalised surfaces and interfaces

Final Activity Report Summary - BioFusin (Biocatalytic Modification of Functionalised Surfaces and Interfaces)

The principle aim of this project was to investigate the biocatalytic manipulation of surfaces and interfaces using the unique features of natural enzymes. These natural catalysts work with definitive precision, which that is required in the nanotechnology and biotechnology sectors. The ability to carry out these modifications and functionalisations in a controlled manner is thus of major importance to the biomedical and sensor industries.

The platform used was a macroporous material known as polyHIPE. This was a highly porous material with a high surface area that could be swelled or used as a carrier material. We had great success in modifying the surfaces of these polyHIPEs by growing polymer layers from the surface, in our case layers ranging from 600 to 800 nm in depth. Unfortunately, further attempts to enzymatically catalyse the functionalisation reactions of molecules to the grafted polymers were unsuccessful. We did however successfully functionalise these materials with biomolecules, such as amino acids and small peptides, using a method known as ‘click chemistry’. These reactions were also carried out under mild conditions, primarily in water-based environments and with the minimum use of environmentally damaging chemicals. This in essence was a key goal target by the use of enzymes in the first place.

In conclusion, we achieved what we set out to do by using a different approach than originally proposed but with an outcome that was the actual goal of the project. This work was innovative and as such resulted in a number of publications in major scientific journals.