Researchers Build Protocells from Sand Nanoparticles
Researchers at the Univ. of Bristol have led a new enquiry into how extremely small particles of silica (sand) can be used to design and construct artificial protocells in the laboratory. The work is described in an article published in Nature Chemistry.
Cells are the basic unit of life and are separated from the outside world by a thin organic membrane. A major function of this membrane is to allow certain molecules to enter or leave the cell whilst other molecules are blocked from the cell interior. This allows metabolic processes to take place efficiently and selectively. Controlling membrane permeability is therefore a key challenge when building artificial cells in the form of enclosed chemical systems, particularly so when the membrane is constructed from simple inorganic components.
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