Bionanocomposites: A New Concept of Ecological, Bioinspired, and Functional Hybrid Materials

Authors


  • This work has been supported by the CICYT, Spain (Projects MAT2003-06003-C02-01 and MAT2006-03356), the Junta de Andalucía, Spain (Project IFAPA-2002.000890), and the Comunidad de Madrid, Spain (Project S-0505/MAT/000227). We thank Dr. M. A. Camblor for helpful discussions and collaboration in cryogenic techniques. Technical support from F. Pinto and A. Valera is gratefully acknowledged. M.D. thanks the I3P Program of the CSIC for financial support through a postdoctoral contract.

Abstract

Bionanocomposites represent an emerging group of nanostructured hybrid materials. They are formed by the combination of natural polymers and inorganic solids and show at least one dimension on the nanometer scale. Similar to conventional nanocomposites, which involve synthetic polymers, these biohybrid materials also exhibit improved structural and functional properties of great interest for different applications. The properties inherent to the biopolymers, that is, biocompatibility and biodegradability, open new prospects for these hybrid materials with special incidence in regenerative medicine and in environmentally friendly materials (green nanocomposites). Research on bionanocomposites can be regarded as a new interdisciplinary field closely related to significant topics such as biomineralization processes, bioinspired materials, and biomimetic systems. The upcoming development of novel bionanocomposites introducing multifunctionality represents a promising research topic that takes advantage of the synergistic assembling of biopolymers with inorganic nanometer-sized solids.

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