Special Issue "Soft, Biological and Composite Nanomaterials"

A special issue of Nanomaterials (ISSN 2079-4991).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Beom Soo Kim
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Guest Editor
Chungbuk National University, Department of Chemical Engineering, Cheongju, Chungbuk, Republic of Korea
Interests: bioplastics; biodegradable polymers; molecularly imprinted polymers, polyhydroxyalkanoates, green synthesis of nanoparticles; bioprocess engineering
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Arvind Gupta
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Chungbuk National University, Department of Chemical Engineering, Cheongju, Chungbuk, Republic of Korea
Interests: bio-based polymers; polymer characterization; polymer nanobiocomposites; polymer processing; shape memory polymers
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Progress in the area of nanotechnology has opened the door for the fabrication of soft, biological and composite nanomaterials for targeted applications. Nanomaterials are known to enhance the properties and functionality of the composite materials by several folds. The properties of the desired applications can often be achieved by the addition of small amount of nanomaterials in soft materials such as polymers, gels and biomaterials. Various techniques such as the functionalization of nanomaterials and the fabrication of composites in situ are groundbreaking methods that may lead to a significant improvement in the properties of these materials. Furthermore, there is a need for the focused characterization of the developed materials in order to use them for targeted application, which will ultimately contribute to the future development of nanomaterials and their composites.

Nanomaterials such as nanoparticles and graphene also have tremendous potential for a wide variety of biomedical applications in antimicrobial and antitumor agents, drug delivery, tissue engineering, biosensors, bioimaging and enzyme mimics. Therefore, there is a growing need to develop environmentally friendly processes of nanomaterial synthesis, such as biological methods using microorganisms, enzymes and plants/plant extracts.

In this Special Issue of Nanomaterials, we wish to publish state-of-the-art work focused on the latest developments in the area of nanomaterial composites with soft materials for biological and engineering applications. The current issue also covers different aspects of the novel biosynthesis of nanomaterials, development and characterization of soft, biological and composite nanomaterials and their various applications.

Prof. Beom Soo Kim
Dr. Arvind Gupta
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Polymer nanobiocomposites
  • Soft nanomaterials
  • Novel biosynthesis of nanomaterials
  • Nanomaterials for biomedical applications
  • Enzyme mimicking nanomaterials
  • Characterization of nanomaterials
  • Biocompatibility of nanomaterials
  • Other biological applications of nanomaterials

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Fabrication of Stable Nanofiber Matrices for Tissue Engineering via Electrospinning of Bare Laser-Synthesized Au Nanoparticles in Solutions of High Molecular Weight Chitosan
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(8), 1058; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9081058 - 24 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
We report a methodology for the fabrication of neutralized chitosan-based nanofiber matrices decorated with bare Au nanoparticles, which demonstrate stable characteristics even after prolonged contact with a biological environment. The methodology consists of electrospinning of a mixture of bare (ligand-free) laser-synthesized Au nanoparticles [...] Read more.
We report a methodology for the fabrication of neutralized chitosan-based nanofiber matrices decorated with bare Au nanoparticles, which demonstrate stable characteristics even after prolonged contact with a biological environment. The methodology consists of electrospinning of a mixture of bare (ligand-free) laser-synthesized Au nanoparticles (AuNPs) and solutions of chitosan/polyethylene oxide (ratio 1/3) containing chitosan of a relatively high molecular weight (200 kDa) and concentration of 3% (w/v). Our studies reveal a continuous morphology of hybrid nanofibers with the mean fiber diameter of 189 nm ± 86 nm, which demonstrate a high thermal stability. Finally, we describe a protocol for the neutralization of nanofibers, which enabled us to achieve their structural stability in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) for more than six months, as confirmed by microscopy and FTIR measurements. The formed hybrid nanofibers exhibit unique physicochemical properties essential for the development of future tissue engineering platforms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft, Biological and Composite Nanomaterials)
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Open AccessArticle
Lipidic Liquid Crystalline Cubic Phases and Magnetocubosomes as Methotrexate Carriers
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(4), 636; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9040636 - 19 Apr 2019
Abstract
The release profiles of methotrexate, an anticancer drug, from the monoolein liquid crystalline cubic phases were studied. The cubic phases were used either in the form of a lipidic film deposited onto a glassy carbon electrode surface or in the dispersed form of [...] Read more.
The release profiles of methotrexate, an anticancer drug, from the monoolein liquid crystalline cubic phases were studied. The cubic phases were used either in the form of a lipidic film deposited onto a glassy carbon electrode surface or in the dispersed form of magnetocubosomes, which are considered a prospective hybrid drug delivery system. Commonly, cubosomes or liposomes are employed, but not in the case of toxic methotrexate, known to block the receptors responsible for folate transport into the cells. The release profiles of the drug from the lipidic films were monitored electrochemically and described using the Higuchi model. They were also modified via changes in temperature; the release was faster, although it deviated from the model when the temperature was increased. Cubic phase nanoparticles (magnetocubosomes) containing hydrophobic magnetic nanoparticles placed in an alternating magnetic field of low frequency and amplitude, stimulated drug release from the suspension, which was monitored spectroscopically. These new biocompatible hybrid nanomaterials in the dispersed form allow to control the release of the drug at the appropriate sites, can be easily separated or relocated under external magnetic field and await further investigations of their in vitro cytotoxicity and in vivo biodistribution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft, Biological and Composite Nanomaterials)
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Open AccessArticle
Shape Memory Polyurethane Biocomposites Based on Toughened Polycaprolactone Promoted by Nano-Chitosan
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(2), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9020225 - 07 Feb 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
The distinctive ability to remember their original form after partial or complete deformation makes shape memory polymers remarkable materials for several engineering and biomedical applications. In the present work, the development of a polycaprolactone based toughened shape memory polyurethane biocomposite promoted by in [...] Read more.
The distinctive ability to remember their original form after partial or complete deformation makes shape memory polymers remarkable materials for several engineering and biomedical applications. In the present work, the development of a polycaprolactone based toughened shape memory polyurethane biocomposite promoted by in situ incorporation of chitosan flakes has been demonstrated. The chitosan flakes were homogeneously present in the polymer matrix in the form of nanoflakes, as confirmed by the electron microscopic analysis and probably developed a crosslinked node that promoted toughness (a > 500% elongation at break) and led to a ~130% increment in ultimate tensile strength, as analyzed using a universal testing machine. During a tensile pull, X-ray analysis revealed the development of crystallites, which resulted from a stress induced crystallization process that may retain the shape and melting of the crystallites stimulating shape recovery (with a ~100% shape recovery ratio), even after permanent deformation. The biodegradable polyurethane biocomposite also demonstrates relatively high thermal stability (Tmax at ~360 °C). The prepared material possesses a unique shape memory behavior, even after permanent deformation up to a > 500% strain, which may have great potential in several biomedical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft, Biological and Composite Nanomaterials)
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Open AccessArticle
Differential Cytotoxicity of Different Sizes of Graphene Oxide Nanoparticles in Leydig (TM3) and Sertoli (TM4) Cells
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(2), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9020139 - 22 Jan 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Graphene oxide (GO) is an common nanomaterial and has attracted unlimited interest in academia and industry due to its physical, chemical, and biological properties, as well as for its tremendous potential in applications in various fields, including nanomedicine. Whereas studies have evaluated the [...] Read more.
Graphene oxide (GO) is an common nanomaterial and has attracted unlimited interest in academia and industry due to its physical, chemical, and biological properties, as well as for its tremendous potential in applications in various fields, including nanomedicine. Whereas studies have evaluated the size-dependent cytotoxicity of GO in cancer cells, there have been no studies on the biological behavior of ultra-small graphene nanosheets in germ cells. To investigate, for the first time, the cyto- and geno- toxic effects of different sizes of GO in two different cell types, Leydig (TM3) and Sertoli (TM4) cells, we synthesized different sized GO nanosheets with an average size of 100 and 20 nm by a modification of Hummers’ method, and characterized them by various analytical techniques. Cell viability and proliferation assays showed significant size- and dose-dependent toxicity with GO-20 and GO-100. Interestingly, GO-20 induced significant loss of cell viability and cell proliferation, higher levels of leakage of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation compared to GO-100. Both GO-100 and GO-20 induced significant loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) in TM3 and TM4 cells, which is a critical factor for ROS generation. Furthermore, GO-100 and GO-20 caused oxidative damage to DNA by increasing the levels of 8-oxo-dG, which is formed by direct attack of ROS on DNA; GO-100 and GO-20 upregulate various genes responsible for DNA damage and apoptosis. We found that phosphorylation levels of EGFR/AKT signaling molecules, which are related to cell survival and apoptosis, were significantly altered after GO-100 and GO-20 exposure. Our results showed that GO-20 has more potent toxic effects than GO-100, and that the loss of MMP and apoptosis are the main toxicity responses to GO-100 and GO-20 treatments, which likely occur due to EGFR/AKT pathway regulation. Collectively, our results suggest that both GO-100 and GO-20 exhibit size-dependent germ cell toxicity in male somatic cells, particularly TM3 cells, which seem to be more sensitive compared to TM4, which strongly suggests that applications of GO in commercial products must be carefully evaluated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft, Biological and Composite Nanomaterials)
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Open AccessArticle
Improving of the Photovoltaic Characteristics of Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells Using a Photoelectrode with Electrospun Porous TiO2 Nanofibers
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(1), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9010095 - 12 Jan 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Porous TiO2 nanofibers (PTFs) and dense TiO2 nanofibers (DTFs) were prepared using simple electrospinning for application in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). TiO2 nanoparticles (TNPs) were prepared using a hydrothermal reaction. The as-prepared PTFs and DTFs (with a fiber diameter of [...] Read more.
Porous TiO2 nanofibers (PTFs) and dense TiO2 nanofibers (DTFs) were prepared using simple electrospinning for application in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). TiO2 nanoparticles (TNPs) were prepared using a hydrothermal reaction. The as-prepared PTFs and DTFs (with a fiber diameter of around 200 nm) were mixed with TNPs such as TNP-PTF and TNP-DTF nanocomposites used in photoelectrode materials or were coated as light scattering layers on the photoelectrodes to improve the charge transfer ability and light harvesting effect of the DSSCs. The as-prepared TNPs showed a pure anatase phase, while the PTFs and DTFs showed both the anatase and rutile phases. The TNP-PTF composite (TNP:PTF = 9:1 wt.%) exhibited an enhanced short circuit photocurrent density (Jsc) of 14.95 ± 1.03 mA cm−2 and a photoelectric conversion efficiency (PCE, η) of 5.4 ± 0.17% because of the improved charge transport and accessibility for the electrolyte ions. In addition, the TNP/PTF photoelectrode showed excellent light absorption in the visible region because of the mountainous nature of light induced by the PTF light scattering layer. The TNP/PTF photoelectrode showed the highest Jsc (16.96 ± 0.79 mA cm−2), η (5.9 ± 0.13%), and open circuit voltage (Voc, 0.66 ± 0.02 V). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft, Biological and Composite Nanomaterials)
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Open AccessArticle
Surface Composition and Preparation Method for Oxygen Nanobubbles for Drug Delivery and Ultrasound Imaging Applications
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(1), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9010048 - 02 Jan 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Phospholipids have been widely investigated for the preparation of liposomes, and micro and nanobubbles. They comprise biocompatible and biodegradable molecules and offer simple preparation with a variety of functions in diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Phospholipids require emulsifiers and surfactants to assemble in the [...] Read more.
Phospholipids have been widely investigated for the preparation of liposomes, and micro and nanobubbles. They comprise biocompatible and biodegradable molecules and offer simple preparation with a variety of functions in diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Phospholipids require emulsifiers and surfactants to assemble in the form of bubbles. These surfactants determine the size, zeta potential, and other characteristics of particles. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) and its various derivatives have been employed by researchers to synthesize micro and nanobubbles. The stability of phospholipid-shelled nanobubbles has been reported by various researchers owing to the reduction of surface tension by surfactants in the shell. Nanobubbles have been employed to deliver oxygen to tissues and hypoxic cells. In this study, we investigated the effects of different ratios of phospholipids to PEG on the size, distribution, and characterization of oxygen nanobubbles (ONBs). ONBs were synthesized using a sonication technique. We analyzed and compared the sizes, numbers of generated particles, and zeta potentials of different compositions of ONBs using dynamic light scattering and nanoparticle tracking analysis. Then, we employed these oxygen nanobubbles to enhance the cellular microenvironment and cell viability. ONBs were also investigated for ultrasound imaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft, Biological and Composite Nanomaterials)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Depth-Sensing Indentation as a Micro- and Nanomechanical Approach to Characterisation of Mechanical Properties of Soft, Biological, and Biomimetic Materials
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10010015 - 19 Dec 2019
Abstract
Classical methods of material testing become extremely complicated or impossible at micro-/nanoscale. At the same time, depth-sensing indentation (DSI) can be applied without much change at various length scales. However, interpretation of the DSI data needs to be done carefully, as length-scale dependent [...] Read more.
Classical methods of material testing become extremely complicated or impossible at micro-/nanoscale. At the same time, depth-sensing indentation (DSI) can be applied without much change at various length scales. However, interpretation of the DSI data needs to be done carefully, as length-scale dependent effects, such as adhesion, should be taken into account. This review paper is focused on different DSI approaches and factors that can lead to erroneous results, if conventional DSI methods are used for micro-/nanomechanical testing, or testing soft materials. We also review our recent advances in the development of a method that intrinsically takes adhesion effects in DSI into account: the Borodich–Galanov (BG) method, and its extended variant (eBG). The BG/eBG methods can be considered a framework made of the experimental part (DSI by means of spherical indenters), and the data processing part (data fitting based on the mathematical model of the experiment), with such distinctive features as intrinsic model-based account of adhesion, the ability to simultaneously estimate elastic and adhesive properties of materials, and non-destructive nature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft, Biological and Composite Nanomaterials)
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