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Nanobiotechnology

by | Mar 26, 2022 | Biotechnology, Biotechnology Basics

Introduction

Nanobiotechnology combines the fields of nanotechnology and biology. Nanobiotechnology is the application of technology to study, alter, modify, or create processes and products on an atomic or molecular level. Biology is, of course, the study of living beings. The use of nanobiotechnology plays an important role in food processing, medicine, electronics, and agriculture. Its most important application, however, is in pharmaceuticals and healthcare. The incorporation of nanoparticles into biological subjects helps in advancements in the fields of diagnostics, drug discoveries, biological and molecular engineering, and agriculture.

Nanobiotechnology

Interface Between Nanotechnology and Bio-Nanotechnology

Combining the methods of nanotechnology and bionanotechnology can significantly advance science and technology, especially in the field of medicine. The methods integrate molecular engineering, biotechnology, physical sciences, biology, and chemistry. Nanoparticles or nanomaterials are an essential part of both nanotechnology and bionanotechnology. Their extremely tiny size makes them an excellent tool, allowing them to be a valuable tool in studying living beings and their functions. Their size also makes them an indispensable element in various areas of human activity.

Nanobionics and Bio-Inspired Nanotechnology

Nanobionics is the nano-scale level study of biological systems. This study helps in future applications in the design and engineering of materials and machines. Its most important applications are medicine, artificial intelligence, nanorobotics, and the military. Nanobionics is used to create systems and products that mimic a natural system in their functioning. Nanobionics essentially involves embedding nanoparticles or nanochips into cells, providing them with abilities that would otherwise be impossible. Nanobionics was recently used to demonstrate how we can synthesize vitamins and antibiotics artificially. Researchers are also looking to use nano bionics to develop a computer that makes educated guesses and learns from its own mistakes. This has only been hypothetical so far. Other potential possibilities include the introduction of nanorobot antibodies into living beings. These antibodies would have the ability to search and destroy bacteria causing diseases and could aid in developing artificial hands, legs, feet, etc.

The field of medicine is a continuously evolving and changing one. The emergence of new diseases makes people in the field of medicine look for new and effective ways to combat them. If we can replicate how biomolecules interact with inorganic materials, we’d have a considerable advantage over outbreaks of any new diseases. This is where nanotechnology comes in. The study of biological systems has inspired advancements in nanotechnology. These advancements include imparting biological activity and recognition on a molecular scale to nanoparticles. With this information, nanoparticles can effectively help a body fight diseases caused by bacteria and viruses.

Applications of Biological Assemblies in Nanotechnology

The term ‘biological assembly’ refers to an arrangement of molecules on the macro scale that scientists and biologists believe is the basic form of the molecule. Therefore, an assembly can be built from one single copy of the unit or molecule. The applications of biological assemblies in nanotechnology are:

1. The use of nanocrystals in drugs

Nanocrystals in drugs can replace the traditional unordered and solidified powder form many of us are familiar with. Nanotechnologists produce these crystals using the structure of biological assemblies. This way, the production of crystals gives them better absorption in the digestive tract. They also have improved stability to biological degradation in the body.

2. Biomineralization

An artificial repeating unit based on original biological behavior helps synthesize artificial bones and teeth.

3. Nanowires

The field of nanotechnology took a giant leap with the achievement of the formation of metallic wires at the nano-scale. To accomplish this, scientists used biological assemblies. Using biomolecular assemblies such as DNA, proteins, and polypeptides, they could replicate their structures and incorporate them into the nanowires. Applications such as these are more relevant in molecular electronics than in biology.

Water and Other Applications of Nano-biotechnology

1. Water

Water treatment plants use nanotechnology to soften the water. They also use nanobiotechnology to remove biological, physical, and chemical contaminants. Some plants achieve this by distributing nanoparticles in the water. These nanoparticles soak up water, much like a sponge. In doing so, they repel dissolved salts and other impurities.

2. Medicine

Researchers have made numerous advancements in medicine thanks to the use of nanobiotechnology. Some of the advances include the development of an artificial retina for colour vision and nanobioelectric systems triggering enzyme activity. Researchers hope to implant computer chips inside a biological cell in the future.

3. Food and Agriculture

Nanobiotechnology in agriculture has helped in improved pesticide delivery systems. These systems use biosensors that automatically detect pathogens, chemicals, organic compounds, etc. Nanobiotechnology also assisted scientists in developing edible thin films for the preservation of fruits and other food.

Future Prospects of Nano-biotechnology

Through nanobiotechnology, scientists already have a deep understanding of the structure of food molecules and their interaction with each other. We expect this understanding to enable scientists to more precisely manipulate molecules to create safe and healthy foods. Nanobiotechnology can also help them develop nano-bio sensors to detect pathogens and contaminants in food. This would aid in the development of a safe food supply. Further, nanobiotechnology could significantly enhance existing bioenergy production methods from agricultural and food waste.

Along with providing safe packaging to keep items fresher, scientists could also develop nano-bio sensors for food packaging. These sensors could provide buyers with information on the food condition inside. They could also indicate to buyers its nutritional status and when an item is no longer safe for consumption.

Use of Nanotechnology for Diagnosing and Curing Disease

The National Chiao Tung University of Taiwan innovatively developed a way to cure cancer. They combined nanomedicines with immunotherapy. Their research was published in renowned journals. Nanomedicines involve the use of nanobots. Nanobots serve as tiny, miniature surgeons, repairing damaged cells. They can also replace DNA molecules to fight diseases and correct genetic deficiencies. Some scientists claim that nanobots can be modified to also act as antibodies and antiviral agents. These nanobots can be introduced into the bodies of patients with a suppressed immune system. More research into nanobots can open up new avenues in healthcare, such as the complete replacement of an organ or the unblocking of arteries.

Nanobots have the potential to completely replace a pacemaker by treating cells in the heart directly. Since nanobots are extremely durable, they can be operated for many years inside the body, allowing doctors to closely monitor and modify a patient’s medical treatment

Future of Nanobiotechnology

 

 

 

Author

  • The author has done a master's in Environmental science and is currently working as chief Environmental Advisor with New Delhi State Government.

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