Hybrid photosynthetic materials derived from microalgae Cyanidium caldarium encapsulated within silica gel

J.C. Rooke, A. Léonard, C.F. Meunier, B.-L. Su, H. Sarmento, J.-P. Descy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Cyanidium caldarium (Tilden) Geitler SAG 16.91 has been encapsulated within a porous silica host structure to target novel photosynthetic hybrid materials suitable for use in solar cells or CO fixation. C. caldarium cells are both thermophilic and acidophilic; on account of these tolerances the hybrid materials could be employed in more extreme heat conditions. TEM highlights that the external cell membrane can remain intact after encapsulation. The images reveal an alignment of silica gel around the external membrane of the cell, providing evidence that the cell wall acts as both a nucleation and polymerisation site for silica species and that the silica scaffold formed by the aggregation of colloidal particles, generates a porosity that can facilitate the transport of nutrients towards the cell. Epifluorescence microscopy and UV-visible spectroscopy have revealed the preservation of photosynthetic apparatus post-immobilisation. Productivity studies showed how the presence of silica nanoparticles within the matrix can adversely interact with the exterior cellular structures preventing the production of oxygen through photosynthesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-352
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2010


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