The Man in the White Suit

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Fri 01 Nov 2002 - 18:07:04 GMT

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    Where does life begin and leave off?

    Nano Biomaterials

    Upstream By Alexandra Stikeman November 2002

    Part biological, part not: blended nanomaterials have surprising properties.

    Detergent manufacturers have long used enzymes in their formulations for fighting really tough dirt. Jonathan Dordick, a chemical engineer at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, is taking the battle against dirt a step further, using nanotechnology to design a self-cleaning plastic in which the enzyme molecules are an integral part of the material. When the plastic comes into contact with bacteria or other pathogens, the enzymes attack the microbes and destroy their ability to bind to its surface.

    Dordick’s innovation is far more than a boon for those challenged by a sponge and disinfectant. It reflects a growing opportunity for materials scientists to form novel combinations of biological and nonbiological molecules.

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