Special Issue "Biomimetic Nanotechnology Vol. 2"

A special issue of Biomimetics (ISSN 2313-7673).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Ille C. Gebeshuber
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Applied Physics (IAP), Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien), Wiedner Hauptstrasse 8-10/134, 1040 Vienna, Austria
Interests: tribology; nanotribology; green technology; positive technologies; systems approaches; complex systems
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Biomimetic nanotechnology relates to the most basic aspects of living systems and the transfer of their properties to human applications. Biological materials, structures, and processes are predominantly based on functionalities at the nanoscale. These nanoscale functionalities are often peppered with added components embedded in beautiful hierarchical layers moving from the micro-, through the meso-, and finally to the macroscale. This is of relevance in materials science, medicine, physics, sensor technologies, smart materials science, and many more fields.

Biomimetics of nanoscale features of living systems is highly challenging, interesting, and rewarding. Yet, because of the inherent multifunctionality of most biological functions, sometimes it is complicated to isolate specific features that are interesting for potential novel applications in technology. Here, both smart approaches and a focus on properly identifying the underlying principles in nature are necessary for us to be able to transfer lessons from living systems to technology, science, engineering, and the arts.

This Special Issue on Biomimetic Nanotechnology calls for contributions from researchers and thinkers in all realms of biomimetic nanotechnology and welcomes theoretical, experimental, and review contributions from biomimeticians, physicists, biologists, material scientists, engineers, and mathematicians alike who are engaged and interested in this fast-growing field. Of specific interest for this Special Issue will be papers that touch upon safe nanotechnology and sustainable biomimetic nanotechnology that facilitates the high potential of this great field in combination with inherent safety for humans and nature.

In the end of 2017, we launched such a Special Issue and received a significant amount of attention, with 8 related papers published. Various important developments have taken place since then, especially in medical biomimetic nanotechnology, and biomimetics as a field is growing and more consolidated. Because of the great success of “Biomimetic Nanotechnology Vol. 1”, we have now decided it is time to launch “Biomimetic Nanotechnology Vol. 2”, and we believe that with your support, it can be as successful as the original edition.

Prof. Dr. Ille C. Gebeshuber
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Biomimetics is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • biomimetic nanotechnology
  • hierarchical material
  • nanoscale functionalities
  • nanoparticles
  • nanosystems
  • nanostructures
  • nanomaterials
  • programmable materials
  • tunable materials with nanoscale functionalities
  • safe nanotechnology

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
Fabrication of Nanopores Polylactic Acid Microtubes by Core-Sheath Electrospinning for Capillary Vascularization
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics6010015 - 16 Feb 2021
Viewed by 798
Abstract
There has been substantial progress in tissue engineering of biological substitutes for medical applications. One of the major challenges in development of complex tissues is the difficulty of creating vascular networks for engineered constructs. The diameter of current artificial vascular channels is usually [...] Read more.
There has been substantial progress in tissue engineering of biological substitutes for medical applications. One of the major challenges in development of complex tissues is the difficulty of creating vascular networks for engineered constructs. The diameter of current artificial vascular channels is usually at millimeter or submillimeter level, while human capillaries are about 5 to 10 µm in diameter. In this paper, a novel core-sheath electrospinning process was adopted to fabricate nanoporous microtubes to mimic the structure of fenestrated capillary vessels. A mixture of polylactic acid (PLA) and polyethylene glycol (PEO) was used as the sheath solution and PEO was used as the core solution. The microtubes were observed under a scanning electron microscope and the images were analyzed by ImageJ. The diameter of the microtubes ranged from 1–8 microns. The diameter of the nanopores ranged from 100 to 800 nm. The statistical analysis showed that the microtube diameter was significantly influenced by the PEO ratio in the sheath solution, pump rate, and the viscosity gradient between the sheath and the core solution. The electrospun microtubes with nanoscale pores highly resemble human fenestrated capillaries. Therefore, the nanoporous microtubes have great potential to support vascularization in engineered tissues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Nanotechnology Vol. 2)
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Article
Exposure of Biomimetic Composite Materials to Acidic Challenges: Influence on Flexural Resistance and Elastic Modulus
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics5040056 - 28 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1028
Abstract
Acidic conditions of the oral cavity, including soft drinks and cariogenic bacteria, represent a damage for restorative biomimetic composite materials. The aim of this study is to assess the influence of two different acidic challenges on the flexural strength and elastic modulus of [...] Read more.
Acidic conditions of the oral cavity, including soft drinks and cariogenic bacteria, represent a damage for restorative biomimetic composite materials. The aim of this study is to assess the influence of two different acidic challenges on the flexural strength and elastic modulus of five composites: x-tra fil (Group 1, XTF), GrandioSO x-tra (Group 2, GXT), Admira Fusion x-tra (Group 3, AFX), VisCalor bulk (Group 4, VCB), and Enamel Plus HRi (Group 5, EPH). Thirty samples for each group were randomly divided and assigned to three different treatments: storage in distilled water as the controls (subgroups 1a–5a), 3 weeks distilled water + 1 week Coca-Cola (subgroups 1b-5b), and 4 weeks Coca-Cola (subgroups 1c–5c). For each subgroup, the flexural strength and elastic modulus were measured using an Instron universal testing machine, and data were submitted to statistical analysis. Considering subgroups B, no material showed a significant difference in the flexural strength with the controls (p > 0.05), whereas for subgroups C, only GXT and VCB showed significantly lower values (p < 0.05). AFX reported the lowest flexural strength among the materials tested. As regards the elastic modulus, no material showed a significant variation after acidic storages when compared with the respective control (p > 0.05). AFX and EPH reported the lowest elastic modulus compared to the other materials. All composites tested showed adequate flexural properties according to the standards, except for AFX. This biomimetic material, along with EPH, might be indicated for V class (cervical) restorations considering the lowest values of elasticity reported. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Nanotechnology Vol. 2)
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Article
Biomimetic Catalysts Based on [email protected]–Graphene Composites for the Generation of Hydrogen by Water Splitting
Biomimetics 2020, 5(3), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics5030039 - 21 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1519
Abstract
For some decades, the scientific community has been looking for alternatives to the use of fossil fuels that allow for the planet’s sustainable and environmentally-friendly development. To do this, attempts have been made to mimic some processes that occur in nature, among which [...] Read more.
For some decades, the scientific community has been looking for alternatives to the use of fossil fuels that allow for the planet’s sustainable and environmentally-friendly development. To do this, attempts have been made to mimic some processes that occur in nature, among which the photosystem-II stands out, which allows water splitting operating with different steps to generate oxygen and hydrogen. This research presents promising results using synthetic catalysts, which try to simulate some natural processes, and which are based on [email protected]–graphene compounds. These catalysts were prepared by incorporating different amounts of gold nanoparticles (1 wt.%, 3 wt.%, 5 wt.%, 10 wt.%) and graphene (1 wt.%) on the surface of synthesized zinc oxide nanowires (ZnO NWs), and zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs), along with a commercial form (commercial ZnO) for comparison purposes. The highest amount of hydrogen (1127 μmol/hg) was reported by ZnO NWs with a gold and graphene loadings of 10 wt.% and 1 wt.%, respectively, under irradiation at 400 nm. Quantities of 759 μmol/hg and 709 μmol/hg were obtained with catalysts based on ZnO NPs and commercial ZnO, respectively. The photocatalytic activity of all composites increased with respect to the bare semiconductors, being 2.5 times higher in ZnO NWs, 8.8 times higher for ZnO NPs, and 7.5 times higher for commercial ZnO. The high photocatalytic activity of the catalysts is attributed, mainly, to the synergism between the different amount of gold and graphene incorporated, and the surface area of the composites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Nanotechnology Vol. 2)
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Article
Characterisation of the Interaction among Oil-In-Water Nanocapsules and Mucin
Biomimetics 2020, 5(3), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics5030036 - 28 Jul 2020
Viewed by 1319
Abstract
Mucins are glycoproteins present in all mucosal surfaces and in secretions such as saliva. Mucins are involved in the mucoadhesion of nanodevices carrying bioactive molecules to their target sites in vivo. Oil-in-water nanocapsules (NCs) have been synthesised for carrying N,N′-(di-m-methylphenyl)urea (DMTU), a [...] Read more.
Mucins are glycoproteins present in all mucosal surfaces and in secretions such as saliva. Mucins are involved in the mucoadhesion of nanodevices carrying bioactive molecules to their target sites in vivo. Oil-in-water nanocapsules (NCs) have been synthesised for carrying N,N′-(di-m-methylphenyl)urea (DMTU), a quorum-sensing inhibitor, to the oral cavity. DMTU-loaded NCs constitute an alternative for the treatment of plaque (bacterial biofilm). In this work, the stability of the NCs after their interaction with mucin is analysed. Mucin type III from Sigma-Aldrich has been used as the mucin model. Mucin and NCs were characterised by the multi-detection asymmetrical flow field-flow fractionation technique (AF4). Dynamic light scattering (DLS) and ζ-potential analyses were carried out to characterise the interaction between mucin and NCs. According to the results, loading DMTU changes the conformation of the NC. It was also found that the synergistic interaction between mucin and NCs was favoured within a specific range of the mucin:NC ratio within the first 24 h. Studies on the release of DMTU in vitro and the microbial activity of such NCs are ongoing in our lab. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Nanotechnology Vol. 2)
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Review

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Review
Enhancing Kidney Vasculature in Tissue Engineering—Current Trends and Approaches: A Review
Biomimetics 2021, 6(2), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics6020040 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 199
Abstract
Chronic kidney diseases are a leading cause of fatalities around the world. As the most sought-after organ for transplantation, the kidney is of immense importance in the field of tissue engineering. The primary obstacle to the development of clinically relevant tissue engineered kidneys [...] Read more.
Chronic kidney diseases are a leading cause of fatalities around the world. As the most sought-after organ for transplantation, the kidney is of immense importance in the field of tissue engineering. The primary obstacle to the development of clinically relevant tissue engineered kidneys is precise vascularization due to the organ’s large size and complexity. Current attempts at whole-kidney tissue engineering include the repopulation of decellularized kidney extracellular matrices or vascular corrosion casts, but these approaches do not eliminate the need for a donor organ. Stem cell-based approaches, such as kidney organoids vascularized in microphysiological systems, aim to construct a kidney without the need for organ donation. These organ-on-a-chip models show complex, functioning kidney structures, albeit at a small scale. Novel methodologies for developing engineered scaffolds will allow for improved differentiation of kidney stem cells and organoids into larger kidney grafts with clinical applications. While currently, kidney tissue engineering remains mostly limited to individual renal structures or small organoids, further developments in vascularization techniques, with technologies such as organoids in microfluidic systems, could potentially open doors for a large-scale growth of whole engineered kidneys for transplantation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Nanotechnology Vol. 2)
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Review
Learning from Nature: Bioinspired Chlorin-Based Photosensitizers Immobilized on Carbon Materials for Combined Photodynamic and Photothermal Therapy
Biomimetics 2020, 5(4), 53; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics5040053 - 14 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1284
Abstract
Chlorophylls, which are chlorin-type photosensitizers, are known as the key building blocks of nature and are fundamental for solar energy metabolism during the photosynthesis process. In this regard, the utilization of bioinspired chlorin analogs as photosensitizers for photodynamic therapy constitutes an evolutionary topic [...] Read more.
Chlorophylls, which are chlorin-type photosensitizers, are known as the key building blocks of nature and are fundamental for solar energy metabolism during the photosynthesis process. In this regard, the utilization of bioinspired chlorin analogs as photosensitizers for photodynamic therapy constitutes an evolutionary topic of research. Moreover, carbon nanomaterials have been widely applied in photodynamic therapy protocols due to their optical characteristics, good biocompatibility, and tunable systematic toxicity. Herein, we review the literature related to the applications of chlorin-based photosensitizers that were functionalized onto carbon nanomaterials for photodynamic and photothermal therapies against cancer. Rather than a comprehensive review, we intended to highlight the most important and illustrative examples over the last 10 years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Nanotechnology Vol. 2)
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Review
Cationic Nanostructures for Vaccines Design
Biomimetics 2020, 5(3), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics5030032 - 07 Jul 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1723
Abstract
Subunit vaccines rely on adjuvants carrying one or a few molecular antigens from the pathogen in order to guarantee an improved immune response. However, to be effective, the vaccine formulation usually consists of several components: an antigen carrier, the antigen, a stimulator of [...] Read more.
Subunit vaccines rely on adjuvants carrying one or a few molecular antigens from the pathogen in order to guarantee an improved immune response. However, to be effective, the vaccine formulation usually consists of several components: an antigen carrier, the antigen, a stimulator of cellular immunity such as a Toll-like Receptors (TLRs) ligand, and a stimulator of humoral response such as an inflammasome activator. Most antigens are negatively charged and combine well with oppositely charged adjuvants. This explains the paramount importance of studying a variety of cationic supramolecular assemblies aiming at the optimal activity in vivo associated with adjuvant simplicity, positive charge, nanometric size, and colloidal stability. In this review, we discuss the use of several antigen/adjuvant cationic combinations. The discussion involves antigen assembled to (1) cationic lipids, (2) cationic polymers, (3) cationic lipid/polymer nanostructures, and (4) cationic polymer/biocompatible polymer nanostructures. Some of these cationic assemblies revealed good yet poorly explored perspectives as general adjuvants for vaccine design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Nanotechnology Vol. 2)
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Review
Biomimetic Nanomembranes: An Overview
Biomimetics 2020, 5(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics5020024 - 29 May 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1874
Abstract
Nanomembranes are the principal building block of basically all living organisms, and without them life as we know it would not be possible. Yet in spite of their ubiquity, for a long time their artificial counterparts have mostly been overlooked in mainstream microsystem [...] Read more.
Nanomembranes are the principal building block of basically all living organisms, and without them life as we know it would not be possible. Yet in spite of their ubiquity, for a long time their artificial counterparts have mostly been overlooked in mainstream microsystem and nanosystem technologies, being a niche topic at best, instead of holding their rightful position as one of the basic structures in such systems. Synthetic biomimetic nanomembranes are essential in a vast number of seemingly disparate fields, including separation science and technology, sensing technology, environmental protection, renewable energy, process industry, life sciences and biomedicine. In this study, we review the possibilities for the synthesis of inorganic, organic and hybrid nanomembranes mimicking and in some way surpassing living structures, consider their main properties of interest, give a short overview of possible pathways for their enhancement through multifunctionalization, and summarize some of their numerous applications reported to date, with a focus on recent findings. It is our aim to stress the role of functionalized synthetic biomimetic nanomembranes within the context of modern nanoscience and nanotechnologies. We hope to highlight the importance of the topic, as well as to stress its great applicability potentials in many facets of human life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Nanotechnology Vol. 2)
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Review
Biomimetic Nanocarrier Targeting Drug(s) to Upstream-Receptor Mechanisms in Dementia: Focusing on Linking Pathogenic Cascades
Biomimetics 2020, 5(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics5010011 - 20 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1658
Abstract
Past published studies have already documented that, subsequent to the intravenous injection of colloidal lipid nanocarriers, apolipoprotein (apo)A-I is adsorbed from the blood onto the nanoparticle surface. The adsorbed apoA-I mediates the interaction of the nanoparticle with scavenger receptors on the blood–brain barrier [...] Read more.
Past published studies have already documented that, subsequent to the intravenous injection of colloidal lipid nanocarriers, apolipoprotein (apo)A-I is adsorbed from the blood onto the nanoparticle surface. The adsorbed apoA-I mediates the interaction of the nanoparticle with scavenger receptors on the blood–brain barrier (BBB), followed by receptor-mediated endocytosis and subsequent transcytosis across the BBB. By incorporating the appropriate drug(s) into biomimetic (lipid cubic phase) nanocarriers, one obtains a multitasking combination therapeutic which targets certain cell-surface scavenger receptors, mainly class B type I (i.e., SR-BI), and crosses the BBB. Documented similarities in lipid composition between naturally occurring high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and the artificial biomimetic (nanoemulsion) nanocarrier particles can partially simulate or mimic the known heterogeneity (i.e., subpopulations or subspecies) of HDL particles. Such biomedical application of colloidal drug-nanocarriers can potentially be extended to the treatment of complex medical disorders like dementia. The risk factors for dementia trigger widespread inflammation and oxidative stress; these two processes involve pathophysiological cascades which lead to neuronal Ca2+ increase, neurodegeneration, gradual cognitive/memory decline, and eventually (late-onset) dementia. In particular, more recent research indicates that chronic inflammatory stimulus in the gut may induce (e.g., via serum amyloid A (SAA)) the release of proinflammatory cytokines. Hence, an effective preventive and therapeutic strategy could be based upon drug targeting toward a major SAA receptor responsible for the SAA-mediated cell signaling events leading to cognitive decline and eventually Alzheimer’s disease or (late-onset) dementia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Nanotechnology Vol. 2)
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