Development of bio-hybrid materials by the encapsulation of photosynthetic cells in a biocompatible silica porous matrix

Project: Research

Project Details


There is a growing and urgent need to find sustainable ways to produce energy to limit the pollution emitted by current production methods. One potential solution is solar energy. Nature has been converting solar energy for many millennia via photosynthesis. Photosynthetic organisms are capable of converting light energy into chemical energy by fixing carbon dioxide with incredible efficiency. Exploitation of these organisms and the development of new photosynthetic technologies may hold the key to resolving our problems.
However, living organisms are sensitive and fragile and when these organisms are used and taken out of their natural environments, their metabolism may slow down or even suffer from cell death. It is thus essential to protect these cells. In recent decades, the scientific community has developed various protection methods, amongst them, the encapsulation of cells in a protective abiotic matrix.
This thesis therefore proposes to develop an individual encapsulation method of cyanobacteria to protect cells. Composite hybrid materials will be developed and employed as encapsulation matrices from inorganic and bio-organic precursors via the sol-gel process. This method, directly inspired by nature (eggs, diatoms, etc.), will create a hybrid material combining the living and the nonliving. Particular attention will be paid to the interface between the cell and the silica matrix in order to understand the mechanisms and optimal cell encapsulation conditions.
The synthetised material will be used for the production of high value metabolites via photosynthesis, and also be applied in bioremediation and therefore the treatment of wastewater.
Short titleMatériau bio-hybride photosynthétique
Effective start/end date1/10/1531/12/17