• bionanotubes;
  • flagella;
  • titanium oxide;
  • silica oxide;
  • biotemplating


Bacterial flagella, protein nanotubes (∼15 nm wide) detached from Salmonella typhimurium bacteria, are used to template the formation of titania/silica core/shell double-layered nanotubes in aqueous solution under ambient conditions through a sol–gel process. The thickness of each layer is tunable by varying the concentration of precursor solutions or reaction times. Upon heating, the flagella can be removed and the inner titania layer can be transformed into a nanocrystalline layer supported by the outer silica sheath. Nanotubes with different inner pore diameters and morphologies could be templated by other bionanofibers such as M13 phage and bacterial pili. This work shows that bionanofibers can be used as a universal biotemplate for the green synthesis of nanotubes with tunable wall thicknesses.