Since its inception a decade ago, sol gel encapsulation has opened up an intriguing new way to immobilize biological materials. An array of substances, including catalytic antibodies, DNA, RNA, antigens, live bacterial, fungal, plant and animal cells, and whole protozoa, have been encapsulated in silica, metal-oxide, organosiloxane and hybrid sol gel polymers. The advantages of these living ceramics might give them applications as optical and electrochemical sensors, diagnostic devices, catalysts, and even bioartificial organs. With rapid advances in sol gel precursors, nanoengineered polymers, encapsulation protocols and fabrication methods, this technology promises to revolutionize bioimmobilization.
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