8. Bioinspired Silica Synthesis

  1. Alaa S. Abd-El-Aziz2,
  2. Charles E. Carraher Jr.3,4,
  3. Charles U. Pittman Jr.5 and
  4. Martel Zeldin6
  1. Siddharth V. Patwardhan and
  2. Stephen J. Clarson

Published Online: 27 JAN 2005

DOI: 10.1002/0471712566.ch8

Macromolecules Containing Metal and Metal-Like Elements: Group IVA Polymers, Volume 4

Macromolecules Containing Metal and Metal-Like Elements: Group IVA Polymers, Volume 4

How to Cite

Patwardhan, S. V. and Clarson, S. J. (2005) Bioinspired Silica Synthesis, in Macromolecules Containing Metal and Metal-Like Elements: Group IVA Polymers, Volume 4 (eds A. S. Abd-El-Aziz, C. E. Carraher, C. U. Pittman and M. Zeldin), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/0471712566.ch8

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Department of Chemistry, The University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

  2. 3

    Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA

  3. 4

    Florida Center for Environmental Studies, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410, USA

  4. 5

    Department of Chemistry, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi, USA

  5. 6

    Department of Chemistry, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, New York, USA

Author Information

  1. Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0012, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 27 JAN 2005
  2. Published Print: 4 MAR 2005

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471682387

Online ISBN: 9780471712565



  • biosilicification;
  • silica sponges;
  • silica diatoms;
  • biogenic silicas;
  • scaffolding of silicas;
  • bioinspired silica;
  • silica synthesis;
  • silica structures;
  • silica structure control;
  • sol-gel;
  • silica particles;
  • polyallylamide;
  • polyelectrolytes;
  • polyanions;
  • silica polypeptides


Organisms of various kingdoms have been reported to deposit a variety of different minerals through biomineralisation 53. Key features of biomineralisation are the precise hierarchical control over structural growth of biominerals, species-specificity of the biomineral morphology, and ambient conditions (temperature and pH) for formation. The deposition of amorphous silica to form ornate frustules through biosilicification in diatoms is one example. In addition, biomineralisation is facilitated and controlled by various characteristic proteins in each biological system. The entrapment of the catalysing / templating / scaffolding biomacromolecules enables them to be recovered by selective dissolution of the biomineral. Study of these proteins, thus, is of interest in understanding biomineralisation. The proteins extracted from the diatom Cylindrotheca fusiformis (silaffins) and the sponge Tethya aurantia (silicateins) have been shown to precipitate silica from silica precursors in vitro. Furthermore, this understanding helps us to design biomimetic materials, new processes, and applications based on the aforesaid minerals in a bioinspired synthetic manner in vitro. The identification of synthetic macromolecules that can act as catalysts/ templates/ scaffolds for silica formation gives exciting possibilities for bioinspired silica synthesis.