Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Making plastic smarter with protein


How do you improve on plastic, a modern material that has already changed the way we do everything from design medical devices to build cars? Embed it with specialized proteins called enzymes, says Shekhar Garde, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

"Such protein-enhanced plastics might someday be able to act as ultra-hygienic surfaces or sensors to detect the presence of various chemicals," says Garde. These types of materials could have a wide range of applications, for example, in the security or medical industries.

Proteins require water to function, however. Nonwatery environments do not provide the driving force necessary to keep proteins in their normally intricately folded state; unfolded, the molecules cease to function. To learn what it takes to successfully integrate proteins into a dry substance such as plastic, Garde and his graduate student Lu Yang use molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to create a computer model of the proteins and study the molecules in both watery and non-watery environments such as organic solvents. They are working in collaboration with Jonathan S. Dordick, the Howard P. Isermann ’42 Professor of Chemical Engineering, who conducted the initial protein research.

Garde and Yang are presenting their research at the 225th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, held March 23-27 in New Orleans, La.

Proteins Are Powerful, but Sensitive

Proteins are "molecular machines," according to Garde, uniquely able to efficiently and reliably conduct chemical processes. Their powerful activity, however, is limited to relatively low temperatures and pressures. Helping proteins adapt to a non-water-based environment may actually increase the resiliency of the molecules and make them useful in situations they otherwise would not survive in, such as exposure to high temperatures or other extreme conditions. In addition to preserving protein’s known actions, the researchers speculate that they may also "discover that proteins could perform some new functions [in dry environments], something that they could not do in water," according to Yang.

CONTACT: Jonathan Dordick 518-276-2899; Shekhar Garde 518-276-6048;

CONTACT (During the ACS meeting): The ACS press room 504-586-4650 (Morial Convention Center, room 280)

Joely Johnson | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Researchers demonstrate existence of new form of electronic matter
15.03.2018 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Boron can form a purely honeycomb, graphene-like 2-D structure
15.03.2018 | Science China Press

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>