Biomimetic mineralization of metal-organic frameworks as protective coatings for biomacromolecules

Kang Liang*, Raffaele Ricco, Cara M. Doherty, Mark J. Styles, Stephen Bell, Nigel Kirby, Stephen Mudie, David Haylock, Anita J. Hill, Christian J. Doonan, Paolo Falcaro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Enhancing the robustness of functional biomacromolecules is a critical challenge in biotechnology, which if addressed would enhance their use in pharmaceuticals, chemical processing and biostorage. Here we report a novel method, inspired by natural biomineralization processes, which provides unprecedented protection of biomacromolecules by encapsulating them within a class of porous materials termed metal-organic frameworks. We show that proteins, enzymes and DNA rapidly induce the formation of protective metal-organic framework coatings under physiological conditions by concentrating the framework building blocks and facilitating crystallization around the biomacromolecules. The resulting biocomposite is stable under conditions that would normally decompose many biological macromolecules. For example, urease and horseradish peroxidase protected within a metal-organic framework shell are found to retain bioactivity after being treated at 80°C and boiled in dimethylformamide (153°C), respectively. This rapid, low-cost biomimetic mineralization process gives rise to new possibilities for the exploitation of biomacromolecules.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7240
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this