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Keywords:

  • biomolecule;
  • biomaterial;
  • TiO2;
  • stainless steel;
  • theoretical chemistry

Abstract

Interactions between biomolecules and inorganic surfaces play an important role in natural environments and in industry, including a wide variety of conditions: marine environment, ship hulls (fouling), water treatment, heat exchange, membrane separation, soils, mineral particles at the earth's surface, hospitals (hygiene), art and buildings (degradation and biocorrosion), paper industry (fouling) and more. To better control the first steps leading to adsorption of a biomolecule on an inorganic surface, it is mandatory to understand the adsorption mechanisms of biomolecules of several sizes at the atomic scale, that is, the nature of the chemical interaction between the biomolecule and the surface and the resulting biomolecule conformations once adsorbed at the surface. This remains a challenging and unsolved problem. Here, we review the state of art in experimental and theoretical approaches. We focus on metallic biomaterial surfaces such as TiO2 and stainless steel, mentioning some remarkable results on hydroxyapatite. Experimental techniques include atomic force microscopy, surface plasmon resonance, quartz crystal microbalance, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, fluorescence microscopy, polarization modulation infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy, sum frequency generation and time of flight secondary ion mass spectroscopy. Theoretical models range from detailed quantum mechanical representations to classical forcefield-based approaches. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A, 2013.