Dr Staniland Seminar
From biomineralisation in magnetic bacteria to the biomimetic synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles
School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leeds
Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) have many applications, particularly over a range of emerging information storage and biomedical (diagnostic and therapeutic) nanotechnology such as spintronics, ultra high-density data storage, targeted and hyperthermic drug delivery and in vitro lab-on-a-chip immunoassays. MNPs often require a monodispersed size and shape distribution to ensure their magnetic behaviour is consistent. To achieve this, MNP synthesis often requires the use of environmentally harsh chemicals, high temperatures and elevated pressure. Magnetotactic bacteria synthesis nanoparticles of magnetite within lipid vesicles (known as magnetosomes) within their cells. Proteomic and genetic studies have identified a “magnetosome island” harbouring the genes the produce proteins specifically for the biomineralisation of these magnetosomes. The biomineralising protein Mms6 from M. magneticum AMB-1 templates the formation of monodisperse cubo-octahedral magnetite in vitro at ambient temperatures and pressures that are akin to those formed by the bacterium in vivo.
Here, we discuss how such proteins are able to control the crystallisation of nanomagnetite and how this can be utilised. We will then consider how this can be progressed to develop biomimetic MNPs production for nanotechnological applications.