The objective of this proposal is to develop an entirely new, one-step process for the immobilization of proteins/enzymes or other biomolecules of interest, which is applicable on a large scale to surfaces of any kind. If successful, the new methodology wi ll offer several advantages over the classical immobilization techniques, including a better reproducibility, high flexibility, broad applicability, straightforward processing and thus potentially high throughput rates. The new way of processing may in tur n lead to entirely new applications which are not feasible with the current state-of-the-art technology. The method of immobilization to be investigated exists in the incorporation of biomolecules, and proteins in particular, in thin plasma polymerized coa tings. For that purpose, solutions containing these proteins or other biomolecules will be administered to a cold, atmospheric plasma together with either liquid or gaseous polymer precursors. Biomolecules may then be incorporated into very thin plasma pol ymer films and exposed to the surface where they exhibit their activity, providing they are not damaged by the plasma. The effect of the plasma on the structure and activity of biomolecules is largely unknown and it represents the main research topic of th is project. The bio-engineered materials to be obtained are envisioned to have bio-recognition sites, designed to specifically interact with other biological or non-biological species. Applications of such materials can be found in the medical, chemical, e nvironmental, food, materials and many other industrial sectors, including but not limited to bio-sensors, labs-on-a-chip, bio-mimetic materials, anti-microbial materials, intelligent materials, etc. In order to optimize the chances of success of this proj ect, which combines materials technology and biotechnology, a highly interdisciplinary team of researchers was put together.
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