The present invention is directed to the use of silicic acid to transform biological materials, including cellular architecture into inorganic materials to provide biocomposites (nanomaterials) with stabilized structure and function. In the present invention, there has been discovered a means to stabilize the structure and function of biological materials, including cells, biomolecules, peptides, proteins (especially including enzymes), lipids, lipid vesicles, polysaccharides, cytoskeletal filaments, tissue and organs with silicic acid such that these materials may be used as biocomposites. In many instances, these materials retain their original biological activity and may be used in harsh conditions which would otherwise destroy the integrity of the biological material. In certain instances, these biomaterials may be storage stable for long periods of time and reconstituted after storage to return the biological material back to its original form. In addition, by exposing an entire cell to form CSCs, the CSCs may function to provide a unique system to study enzymes or a cascade of enzymes which are otherwise unavailable.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST
This invention was made with Government support under contract no. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Sandia Corporation. The Government has certain rights in the invention.