In a previous review of biological and bioinspired silica formation (S. V. Patwardhan et al., Chem. Commun., 2005, 1113 [ref. 1]), we have identified and discussed the roles that organic molecules (additives) play in silica formation in vitro. Tremendous progress has been made in this field since and this review attempts to capture, with selected examples from the literature, the key advances in synthesising and controlling properties of silica-based materials using bioinspired approaches, i.e. conditions of near-neutral pH, all aqueous environments and room temperature. One important reason to investigate biosilicifying systems is to be able to develop novel materials and/or technologies suitable for a wide range of applications. Therefore, this review will also focus on applications arising from research on biological and bioinspired silica. A range of applications such as in the areas of sensors, coatings, hybrid materials, catalysis and biocatalysis and drug delivery have started appearing. Furthermore, scale-up of this technology suitable for large-scale manufacturing has proven the potential of biologically inspired synthesis.
- bioinspired silica
- biomimetic silica