NSTI Nanotech 2009

Multifunctional Carbon Nanotube-Enzyme Composites

S. Mantha, A. Geyou, V. Pedrosa, D. Nepal, S. Balasubramanian, S. Paliwal, J. Wild, A. Simonian, V.A. Davis
Auburn University, US

Keywords: carbon nanotubes, enzymes, antimicrobial, sensor


Carbon nanotubes and enzymes are attractive building blocks for the controlled bottom-up assembly of multifunctional materials. Here we report two examples of multifunctional carbon nanotube-enzyme composites: antimicrobial coatings and organophosphate sensors. In the first example, the natural antimicrobial activity of lysozyme (LSZ) and the high strength of single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNTs) enabled assembly of coatings with both significant antimicrobial activity and high Young’s Modulus.1 Lysozymes are naturally abundant enzymes that can be found in chicken egg whites, and human tears. In the second example, organophosphorus hydrolase (OPH) functionalized single and multi-walled carbon nanotube conjugates provided the platform for direct amperometric detection of paraoxon, a model organophosphate. Organophosphate detection is of growing importance for both environmental protection and homeland security since organic phosphates can be found in many recently banned pesticides as well as in nerve agents. These two examples suggest that the combination of proteins and carbon nanotubes is a promising means for the development of advanced multifunctional materials for a variety of applications. Key considerations are the protein’s properties, the interaction between the nanotube and the protein and processing routes.
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