Biomaterials & Living Surfaces

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Multifunctionality is a strong demand set to the next generation of materials. One way to cope with this trend is the use of biological materials and systems. The result from this research are biomaterials and living materials, which find their way into todays dental materials, sensor technolgy or textile production.

 

Living Materials

Contact: Konstantin Schulz-Schönhagen Nadine Lobsiger

Living organisms’ complex responses to environmental stimuli have spurred the development of synthetic materials that mimic many of these natural processes. Instead of synthetic biomaterials we directly incorporate living microorganisms such as fungi or bacteria in to a polymer enclosed matrix. The organisms cannot escape but still communicate with the outer environment through the nano-porous polymer layers by e.g. taking up nutrients or responding to threats by producing antibiotics. Besides keeping surfaces clean and sterile such a material could also serve as highly specific bio-sensors or even as bio-displays.

Publications in the area:

  • Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2012. Link
  • Chem. Commun., 2012. Link
  • Biomaterials, 2015. Link

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Dental Materials

Contact: Dr. Dirk Mohn

Common dental materials are inert and only intended gluing. As there are several drawbacks, our focus lies on the development of novel smart dental materials, which can be active and inert. We use so-called bioactive glasses that can render classical dental materials into smart materials. Applying these bioactive glasses with a high specific surface area and a specific particle composition, novel composite systems can be manufactured to treat caries lesions, dentin hypersensitivity, root canal treatments, etc. Current projects are carried out in collaboration with the dental hospital of the University of Zurich.

Publications in the area:

  • Dent. Mater., 2014. Link
  • Int. Endo. J., 2013. Link
  • Int. Endo. J., 2010. Link
  • Acta Biomat., 2007. Link

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Self-defending Seeds

Contact: Prof. Wendelin Stark

Inspired by the bitter almond we developed self-defending seed coating. Triggered by a herbivore attack separated compounds in the coating mix and a cascade reaction starts forming hydrogen cyanide (HCN). This toxin acts as a repellent and thus protects the crop from different pest species. The coating is fully biodegradable and is thought to be applied in stored grains as an alternative to pesticides, which gained a lot of criticism for being responsible for different environmental catastrophes as the mass death of bees.

Publications in the area:

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Wool-like Gelatin Fibers

Contact: Prof. Wendelin Stark

Gelatin is an exceptional and versatile biopolymer with applications in various industries. As the most abundant structural protein in vertebrates it is available in megaton quantities from slaughterhouse waste. On these grounds, it would be a plausible substitute for synthetic polymers. We are currently exploring different spinning processes to produce continuous protein filaments from a non-equilibrium gelatin/water/2-propanol mixture. The obtained gelatin fibers have promising properties and resemble natural fibers such as wool.

Publications in the area:

  • Adv. Funct. Mater., 2014. Link
  • Macromol. Mater. Eng., 2014. Link
  • P.R. Stössel, R.N. Grass, W.J. Stark, WO2014190443.

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Wed Jul 26 03:14:10 CEST 2017
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