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Efficient Biocatalytic Degradation of Pollutants by Enzyme-Releasing Self-Propelled Motors

Authors

  • Dr. Jahir Orozco,

    1. Department of Nanoengineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093 (USA)
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Diana Vilela,

    1. Department of Nanoengineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093 (USA)
    2. Department of Analytical Chemistry, University of Alcalá, 28871 Alcalá de Henares, Madrid (Spain)
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Dr. Gabriela Valdés-Ramírez,

    1. Department of Nanoengineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093 (USA)
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  • Yuri Fedorak,

    1. Department of Nanoengineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093 (USA)
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  • Prof. Alberto Escarpa,

    1. Department of Analytical Chemistry, University of Alcalá, 28871 Alcalá de Henares, Madrid (Spain)
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  • Prof. Rafael Vazquez-Duhalt,

    1. Department of Nanoengineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093 (USA)
    2. Center of Nanosciences and Nanotechnology, UNAM Ensenada, Baja California, 22800 (México)
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  • Prof. Joseph Wang

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Nanoengineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093 (USA)
    • Department of Nanoengineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093 (USA)

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Abstract

The first example of a self-propelled tubular motor that releases an enzyme for the efficient biocatalytic degradation of chemical pollutants is demonstrated. How the motors are self-propelled by the Marangoni effect, involving simultaneous release of SDS surfactant and the enzyme remediation agent (laccase) in the polluted sample, is illustrated. The movement induces fluid convection and leads to the rapid dispersion of laccase into the contaminated solution and to a dramatically accelerated biocatalytic decontamination process. The greatly improved degradation efficiency, compared to quiescent solutions containing excess levels of the free enzyme, is illustrated for the efficient biocatalytic degradation of phenolic and azo-type pollutants. The high efficiency of the motor-based decontamination approach makes it extremely attractive for a wide-range of remediation processes in the environmental, defense and public health fields.

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