Silica nanostructure formation from synthetic R5 peptide

Indrayani Tajuddin, Nicholas Voelcker, Jim Mitchell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOtherpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Diatoms have the ability to generate highly ornamented nanostructured silicified cell walls under ambient conditions and without harsh chemicals, yet the molecular mechanisms underlying biosilification are still not well understood. The idea of this study is to mimic silica biomineralization of diatom cell walls that may provide the key to the development of new routes towards novel tailor-made silicas. Here the ability of R5 peptide, a peptide from the silaffin-1 protein derived from diatom species of Cylindrotheca fusiformis, to generate silica nanostructure in vitro was investigated. The R5 peptide was synthesized using Fmoc Solid-Phase Peptide Synthesis and purified using reverse phase high performance liquid chromatography. MALDI analysis showed that the peptide was successfully synthesis. With the application of silicic acid as a silica precursor and the peptide as catalyse, the formation of silica nanostructure was achieved, AFM analysis of the precipitated silica from the mixture of silicic acid and the peptide revealed the nanostructure of silica spheres ranging between 50 - 300 nm in diameter. Silica precipitate was not obtained in the absence of R5 (negative control) and when the silicic acid was mixed with poly-L-lysine (positive control), a network of large aggregates of uniform size of silica spheres of about 100 nm in diameter was observed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSmart Materials IV
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes
EventSPIE International Symposium on Smart Materials, Nano- and Micro-Smart Systems - Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 11 Dec 200613 Dec 2006

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceSPIE International Symposium on Smart Materials, Nano- and Micro-Smart Systems


  • AFM and SEM
  • Biosilification
  • Diatoms
  • R5 peptide

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