Nanostructured Biosilica of Diatoms: From Water World to Biomedical Applications

Chiara Tramontano, Giovanna Chianese, Monica Terracciano, Luca de Stefano, Ilaria Rea
2020 Applied Sciences  
Diatoms—unicellular photosynthetic algae—are promising natural sources of nanostructured silica. These microorganisms produce in their membrane approximately a highly ordered porous cell wall called a frustule as protection from environmental stress. Diatom frustules consist of hydrated silica that show peculiar properties including biocompatibility, tailorable surface chemistry, chemical inertness, and thermal stability. Frustules harvested from aquatic ecosystems or diatomaceous fossil
more » ... ts represent an excellent cost-effective source of biosilica for a broad range of biomedical applications. The porous ultrastructure of the frustules displays a large surface area available for coating with various biomolecules through different functionalization methods. In this review article, we highlight the main features of diatom biosilica and present some of the most advantageous properties that support the employment of frustules in the field of drug delivery, biosensing, and regenerative medicine. In particular, it is offered an insight into the most common functionalization strategies through which diatom physicochemical properties can be modified and tailored according to the described field of application.
doi:10.3390/app10196811 fatcat:hocgvvx22vgc7jjs5qoldd3wde