Inspired by biomineralization, biomimetic approaches utilize biomolecules and synthetic analogs to produce materials of controlled chemistry, morphology, and function under relatively benign conditions. A common characteristic of biological and biomimetic mineral-forming processes is the generation of mineral/biomolecule nanocomposites. In this work, it is demonstrated that a facile chemical reaction may be utilized to halogenate the nitrogen-containing moieties of the organics entrapped within bio-inorganic composites to yield halamine compounds. This process provides rapid and potent bactericidal activity to biomimetically and biologically produced materials that otherwise lack such functionality. Additionally, bio-inorganic composites containing the chlorinated peptide protamine are effective in rapidly neutralizing Bacillus spores (≥99.97% reduction in colony forming units within 10 min). The straightforward nature of the described process, and the efficacy of halamine compounds in neutralizing biological and chemical agents, provide new applicability to biogenic and biomimetic materials.
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