Biofunctionalization of carbon nanostructures through enzyme immobilization in colloidal silica

Evan M Goulet, University of Pennsylvania


Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNT) and carbon nanopipettes (CNP) provide interesting high aspect ratio scaffolds on which to base functionally gradient materials. In this dissertation, we present a general method for the production of an enzymatically active composite material based on MWNTs. Polyethyleneimine (PEI) was applied to purified MWNTs, generating a positive electrostatic potential on the MWNTs. This positive potential was used to apply negatively charged colloidal silica particle in the presence of a high concentration of enzyme. The silica coating continued to grow via localized condensation of silica particles driven by the buffered saline conditions, immobilizing the enzyme within the coating. The mesoporous nanostructure was characterized via transmission electron microscopy. Optical spectroscopy experiments on the material employed as an active suspension showed that the immobilized enzymes horseradish peroxidase (HRP) and tyrosinase (TV) retained their activity upon incorporation into the material. Using HRP as a model enzyme, it was determined that the MWNT-HRP-Silica material showed similar pH and temperature dependencies in activity to those of free HRP in solution. An examination of the Michaelis-Menten kinetics showed that the material had a slightly higher value of KM than did free HRP. The MWNT-HRP-Silica material was also employed as an active filter membrane, which allowed us to explore the reusable nature of the material. We were able to show the denaturation of the filter due to the loss of Ca2+ cations at low pH and then restore the activity by soaking the filter membrane in 1 mM CaCl2. The MWNT-HRP-Silica material was used to modify a carbon microelectrode and produce a functioning electrochemical sensor for H2O2 . Utilizing cyclic voltammetry, the sensor was shown to have a linear response in limiting current versus concentration of H2O2 of 4.26 pA/µM. We also determined a lower detection limit of 0.67 µM H2O2. CNPs were investigated as functional microelectrodes. Colloidal silica was applied to the CNP with HRP, but it was difficult to prove functionality. One irregularly coated CNP showed a clear response to H2O2, but we were not able to reproduce the response in other samples. This work indicated the CNPs have promise as functional microelectrodes.

Subject Area

Materials science

Recommended Citation

Goulet, Evan M, "Biofunctionalization of carbon nanostructures through enzyme immobilization in colloidal silica" (2008). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3309437.