All You Need To Know About Nanobiotechnology
There are many interdisciplinary fields that have the potential to change this world. So is nanotechnology. It can detect and reach the root cause of certain problems. Everything, be it man-made or natural, is formed of atoms and molecules. Nanoparticles refer to particles in the range of 10^-9 meters. This provides us with the scope of studies at nanoparticle levels. For example, these particles have their uses in a number of disciplinary fields like mechanical, electronics, space sciences, life sciences- agriculture, medicines, bio-weapons, etc. And it is clear from the name itself, that when we talk of nanobiotechnology, we are actually incorporating nanotechnology with life sciences.
There are many applications of nanotechnology: Electronics, Energy, Biomedicine, Food, Textiles, Oil spills, Water cleanliness, Treatment and remediation, Sensing and detection, Pollution prevention, Cleansing the air, Space sciences, Bioweapons, Artificial intelligence, and so on.
Nanotechnology is a field of research and innovation concerned with building materials and devices on the scale of atoms and molecules. At such scales, the ordinary rules of physics and chemistry no longer apply. Hence, it can increase the efficiency of energy consumption, help clean the environment and solve health problems.
Biotechnology allows us to study and manipulate life in the production of processes and products.
Nanobiotechnology is the integrated use of nanotechnology and biotechnology.
It is a hybrid discipline that deals with the nanoscale fabrication of biological systems. It uses the knowledge from sciences and technology and harnesses it for some purpose. As a result, it provides insight into the structural features of biological systems, bionanomaterials for diagnostics, therapeutics, and tissue regeneration. Since it is a sort of novel field that studies biological machinery at the nanoscale. Therefore, this helps us to adapt these biological motifs into improving existing nanobiotechnologies or creating new ones.
Classification of nanoparticles:
Nanoparticles are of two types: organic and inorganic based on their composition.
The organic nanoparticles are of three types carbohydrate-based, protein-based, and lipid-based. whereas, inorganic nanoparticles mainly consist of metals, and metal oxides such as silver, titanium dioxide, zinc dioxide, silicon dioxide, and iron oxide.
Nanoparticle probes endow imaging techniques with enhanced signal sensitivity, better spatial resolution, and the ability to relay information on biological systems at molecular and cellular levels. Simple magnetic nanoparticles function as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast enhancement probes. In addition, nuclear techniques such as positron-emission tomography (PET) potentially provide detection sensitivities of higher magnitude, enabling the use of nanoparticles at lower concentrations than permitted by routine MRI.
Nanoparticle synthesis approaches:
Materials and devices are built from the molecular components which assemble themselves chemically by principles of molecular recognition. For the same, we use different techniques like chemical vapor deposition, laser pyrolysis, molecular self-assembly, and sol-gel processing. For example, Carbon nanotubes are built using graphene.
Nano objects are constructed from larger entities. Therefore, it has some physicomechanical methods such as crushing, electroplating, laser ablation, lithography, milling, and grinding. For example, gold act as a catalyst at the nanoscale.
APPLICATIONS OF NANOBIOTECHNOLOGY
The genesis of nanotechnology can be traced to the promise of revolutionary advances across medicine, communications, genomics, and robotics.
NANOBIOTECHNOLOGY IN MEDICINE
Interactions between artificial molecular assemblies or nanodevices and biomolecules can be understood both in the extracellular medium and inside human cells. Allowing the investigation for in vitro as well as for in vivo diagnosis. In vitro, we synthesize particles and manipulate or detect devices that provide us with the recognition, capture, and concentration of biomolecules.
The promise is that nanotechnology offers multidisciplinary applications offering not only improvements to the current techniques but also providing entirely new tools and capabilities. Therefore, manipulating drugs and other materials at the nanometer scale can alter the fundamental properties and bioactivity of the materials. In vivo, the synthetic molecular assemblies are mainly designed as a contrast agent for imaging. Nanomedicines have many applications such as :
alteration in solubility and blood pool retention time
controlled release over short or long durations
environmentally triggered controlled release or highly specific site-targeted delivery
NANOBIOTECHNOLOGY IN DRUG DELIVERY
A second area exhibiting a strong development is “nano drugs” where we design nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery. Therefore, the use of such carriers improves the drug bio-distribution, targeting active molecules to the disease tissues while protecting healthy tissue. Such small particles work very specifically and reach to the site of disease, releasing the drugs.
CANCER DETECTION AND DIAGNOSIS
The properties of some nanomaterials make them ideal for improving early diagnosis and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases or cancer. They are able to attack cancer cells selectively without harming other healthy cells. Similarly, some nanoparticles are used to enhance pharmaceutical products.
BIOSENSORS OR NANOBIOSENSORS
Nanomaterials also make it possible to use photo-electrochemical analysis, integrating light response and chemical sensing for biological and chemical monitoring and negating the need for expensive and sophisticated instruments and operations. For example, there was a leakage of methyl iso-cyanide gas in the Bhopal gas plant. Similar situations can be avoided by the use of biosensors in the future.
NANOBIOTECHNOLOGY IN FOOD PACKAGING
Nanoparticles are used in the development of improved packaging, active packaging, and intelligent packaging which help in the maintenance of food quality and traceability during the supply chain. Nano-biosensors can detect the presence of pathogens in food or nanocomposites. As a result, they help to improve food production using mechanical and thermal resistance and decrease oxygen transfer in packaged products. Hence, nanoparticle provides better physical and antimicrobial properties thus, helps in prolonging the shelf life of food. Nanoparticles possess antimicrobial activity, oxygen scavenging ability, UV impermeability, and various other properties that make them valuable for their application in the preparation of nanocomposites.
Nanobiotechnology- based solutions contribute to the long-term quality, availability, and viability of water. It could yield a new generation of nanomembranes for water purification, desalinization, and better means of removing, reducing, or neutralizing water contaminations. Nanomembranes may include zeolites, carbon nanotubes, self-assembled monolayers on mesoporous supports, biopolymers, and single enzyme nanoparticles.
Oil spills can be catastrophic for oceans, rivers, and the wildlife that reside within them. However, conventional methods of cleaning spillages are inadequate. Although, in their infancy, nanobiotechnology- based solutions show great promise as an alternative means of tackling the clean-up operation. Practical water cleaning applications already in use include utilizing iron nanoparticles to remove organic solvents in groundwater. It can also remove radioactive wastes.
NANOBIOTECHNOLOGY IN AIR CLEANSING
Nanomaterial photocatalysts in air purification and self-cleaning processes are increasing, researchers are working to fabricate efficient photocatalysts. Different materials like zinc oxide (ZnO), titanium dioxide (TiO2), and tungsten trioxide (WO3) as well as composites like silver (Ag)-TiO2-graphene and bismuth (Bi)-based nanomaterials are used for air purification and self-cleaning.
DISADVANTAGES OF NANOBIOTECHNOLOGY
- High energy requirements for synthesizing nanoparticles cause high energy demand.
- Dissemination of toxic, persistent nanoscale substances originating environmental harm.
- Lower recovery and recycling rates.
- Lack of trained engineers and workers causing further concerns.
In conclusion, nanobiotechnology is an emerging interdisciplinary field that works in collaboration with fields like nanotechnology, physics, biology, chemistry, bio-informatics, etc. to produce new innovative products and alternatives. It harnesses many applications and advantages in numerous sectors of life sciences itself. Therefore, becoming a very productive field of research. Despite many of its disadvantages, nanobiotechnology has the potential to give solutions to many problems.
Keep reading for more!
Watch more- JRC Nanobiotechnology Laboratory – YouTube
- Nanobiotechnology – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics
- Lugani, Y., Sooch, B. S., Singh, P., & Kumar, S. (2021). Nanobiotechnology applications in food sector and future innovations. In Microbial biotechnology in food and health (pp. 197-225). Academic Press.