From: Grant Callaghan (email@example.com)
Date: Fri 01 Nov 2002 - 18:07:04 GMT
Where does life begin and leave off?
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
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