Smart Nanotubes for Bioseparations and Biocatalysis

Tube-shaped nanostructures (nanotubes) have a number of attributes that make them potentially useful for biomedical applications such as drug delivery/detoxification and enzyme immobilization. Template synthesis provides a route for preparing monodisperse nanotubes of nearly any size and composed of nearly any material. We show here that template-synthesized silica nanotubes can be biochemically functionalized such that they act as biocatalysts and highly selective nano-phase extraction agents for bioseparations. For example, nanotubes containing an enantioselective antibody selectively extract the enantiomer of a drug molecule that binds to the antibody, relative to the enantiomer that has no specific interaction with the antibody. Nanotubes containing the enzyme glucose oxidase function as nanophase bioreactors to catalyze the oxidation of glucose.