The Use of Poly-L-Lysine to Form Novel Silica Morphologies and the Role of Polypeptides in Biosilicification
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Silicification at neutral pH and under ambient conditions in vitro is of great interest due to its relationship with silicification in vivo as well as for the benign conditions of the process. As it is important to know the exact group(s) or a particular site in the macromolecules that are responsible for the silicification under these conditions in vivo, poly-L-lysine (PLL) was chosen for this investigation in vitro. Here we report the use of tetramethoxysilane (TMOS) as a silica precursor and the utilization of poly-L-lysine (PLL) for silicification at neutral pH and under ambient conditions. We describe (1) the use of PLL to precipitate silica, (2) the effect of mixing of macromolecules PLL and poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PAH) to control morphologies of the product, and (3) the formation of novel silica morphologies.
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