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October 2nd, 2003
Trapped proteins find strength in numbers
An unusual composite material in which several thousand protein molecules are apparently packed into a nanoscale cluster and 'glued' within a highly porous silica matrix might find applications as a stable form of the biomolecules for chemical and biological sensing. Debra Rolison and co-workers at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC, find that their biocomposite, containing the haem protein cytochrome c, can bind nitric oxide in the gas phase. Encapsulated in a silica aerogel, which is mostly open pore space, the proteins are highly accessible to molecules that diffuse through the pores.
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