In the past decade, mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) with a large surface area and pore volume have attracted considerable attention for their application in drug delivery and biomedicine. Here we propose biosilica from diatoms as an alternative source of mesoporous materials in the field of multifunctional supports for cell growth: the biosilica surfaces were chemically modified by traditional silanization methods resulting in diatom silica microparticles functionalized with 3-mercaptopropyl-trimethoxysilane (MPTMS) and 3-aminopropyl-triethoxysilane (APTES). Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analyses revealed that the –SH or –NH 2 were successfully grafted onto the biosilica surface. The relationship among the type of functional groups and the cell viability was established as well as the interaction of the cells with the nanoporosity of frustules. These results show that diatom microparticles are promising natural biomaterials suitable for cell growth, and that the surfaces, owing to the mercapto groups, exhibit good biocompatibility.
Cicco, S. R., Vona, D., Gristina, R., Sardella, E., Ragni, R., Presti, M. L., & Farinola, G. M. (2016). Biosilica from living diatoms: Investigations on biocompatibility of bare and chemically modified Thalassiosira weissflogii silica shells. Bioengineering, 3(4). https://doi.org/10.3390/bioengineering3040035