text-only page produced automatically by LIFT Text Transcoder Skip all navigation and go to page contentSkip top navigation and go to directorate navigationSkip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation Home National Science Foundation - Mathematical & Physical Sciences (MPS)
Mathematical & Physical Sciences (MPS)
design element
MPS Home
About MPS
Funding Opportunities
Awards
News
Events
Discoveries
Publications
Advisory Committee
Career Opportunities
2013-2014 Distinguished Lecture Series
View MPS Staff
MPS Organizations
Astronomical Sciences (AST)
Chemistry (CHE)
Materials Research (DMR)
Mathematical Sciences (DMS)
Physics (PHY)
Office of Multidisciplinary Activities (OMA)
Proposals and Awards
Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide
  Introduction
Proposal Preparation and Submission
bullet Grant Proposal Guide
  bullet Grants.gov Application Guide
Award and Administration
bullet Award and Administration Guide
Award Conditions
Other Types of Proposals
Merit Review
NSF Outreach
Policy Office
Other Site Features
Special Reports
Research Overviews
Multimedia Gallery
Classroom Resources
NSF-Wide Investments

Email this pagePrint this page


Press Release 06-102
Researchers Create New Organic Gel Nanomaterials

Materials are chemically reversible and environmentally benign

The nanogels could be used for tissue engineering, artificial membranes, and drug delivery.

The nanogels could be used for tissue engineering, artificial membranes, and drug delivery.
Credit and Larger Version

July 7, 2006

Researchers have created organic gel nanomaterials that could be used to encapsulate pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetic products and to build 3-D biological scaffolds for tissue engineering. Using olive oil and six other liquid solvents, the scientists added a simple enzyme to chemically activate a sugar that changed the liquids to organic gels.

Funding for the research was provided by the National Science Foundation through the Center for Directed Assembly of Nanostructures, a Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

"We are using the building blocks provided by nature to create new nanomaterials that are completely reversible and environmentally benign," said Rensselaer's Jonathan Dordick, leader of the research team. "The importance of this finding is the ability to use the same naturally occurring enzyme both to create chemically functional organogels and to reverse the process and break down these gels into their biologically compatible building blocks."

In the experiments, researchers activated a sugar using a simple enzyme, which generated a compound that self-assembles into 3-D fibers measuring approximately 50 nanometers in diameter. As the fibers entangle, a large amount of solvent gets packed together, trapping some 10,000 molecules.

The resulting organogel materials could be used as biocompatible scaffolds for tissue engineering and designing membranes, according to Dordick. Other possible applications include delivery systems for pharmaceuticals and preservatives for food and cosmetics.

"The development of new materials that are molecularly defined and chemically functional at the nanoscale is of critical importance to biological applications such as drug delivery," said Dordick. "We are finding the natural world has provided tools to create these materials without the need to generate new compounds that may be harmful to the body or environment."

The findings, which will be published in July 17 issue of the journal Angewandte Chemie, are already online.

The research is led by Dordick and includes George John of the City University of New York; Guangyu Zhu, post-doctoral research associate at Rensselaer; and Jun Li of the University of Southern Mississippi. The paper is titled "Enzymatically Derived Sugar-Containing Self-Assembled Organogels with Nanostructured Morphologies."

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Tiffany Lohwater, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, (518) 276-6542, lohwat@rpi.edu

Related Websites
Dordick research group: http://enzymes.che.rpi.edu/

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

 Get News Updates by Email 

Useful NSF Web Sites:
NSF Home Page: http://www.nsf.gov
NSF News: http://www.nsf.gov/news/
For the News Media: http://www.nsf.gov/news/newsroom.jsp
Science and Engineering Statistics: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/
Awards Searches: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/

 

border=0/


Email this pagePrint this page
Back to Top of page