An overview of applications of biomolecules in the functionalization of materials

Markus Linder, Tarja Nevanen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientific


By using properties of biomolecules such as self-assembly and molecular recognition, a biological approach to materials design can be taken.Usually biomolecules (e.g., proteins and lipids) are not associated with the properties desired in materials such as durability, strength, and stability. However, nature provides us with a magnitude of materials which have excellent properties, bone, wood or mussel shells being just a few examples.So far, the problem has been how to mimic these properties.In recent years the advance of biotechnology has given much more detail on how biological structures are built as well as the tools to produce and modify biological molecules.In our work we show how properties such as molecular recognition, adhesion behavior or self assembly can be used in combination with conjugation to other structures such as inorganic supports or polymers in making materials or components of materials.These materials gain properties such as specific permeability or interactions with specific compounds.In other cases biomolecules can be used in combination with non-biological nanostructures as templates or carriers to achieve control of the materials structure at the molecular level.The properties of biomolecules are determined by their structure.In protein a set of only 20 amino acids are needed to obtain an incredibly large variation of functionality.A property that is very important to make this function is that biomolecules typically have highly defined sizes and co-formational shapes that correspond to their functions.These are properties that are only starting to become possible in man-made materials.To learn about how man-made materials can be designed in the future, a useful line of research is to try to use biomolecules as components in materials.In this overview we illustrate this by two examples: one is the making of hybrid materials in which molecules are made where one part is formed by a synthetic molecule and the other part by a biological molecule.In the second example, biomolecules are inserted into a nanostructured material to give it new properties.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationApplied Material Research at VTT
Subtitle of host publicationSymposium on Applied Materials
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
ISBN (Electronic)951-38-6312-3
ISBN (Print)951-38-6311-5
Publication statusPublished - 2006
MoE publication typeB3 Non-refereed article in conference proceedings
EventInternal Symposium on Applied Materials - Espoo, Finland
Duration: 8 Jun 20068 Jun 2006

Publication series

SeriesVTT Symposium


ConferenceInternal Symposium on Applied Materials

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  • Cite this

    Linder, M., & Nevanen, T. (2006). An overview of applications of biomolecules in the functionalization of materials. In Applied Material Research at VTT: Symposium on Applied Materials (pp. 98-101). VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. VTT Symposium, No. 244