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Physics and Chemistry of Multifunctional Materials June 25th to July 9th 2006 Genova - Italy Biomaterials - Biopolymers. Kim Kusk Mortensen Dept. of Molecular Biology Aarhus University Aarhus - Denmark. Biopolymers Lecture disposition. Fibers, hair, horn, skin and storage Examples and uses

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Physics and Chemistry of Multifunctional MaterialsJune 25th to July 9th 2006Genova - ItalyBiomaterials - Biopolymers

Kim Kusk Mortensen

Dept. of Molecular Biology

Aarhus University

Aarhus - Denmark

biopolymers lecture disposition
BiopolymersLecture disposition
  • Fibers, hair, horn, skin and storage
    • Examples and uses
  • DNA, Protein and Carbohydrates
    • Chemistry, structure and functions
  • Design of novel functions
examples and uses
Examples and uses
  • Fibers
    • Vegetable fibers
      • Cellulose
    • Animal fibers
      • Keratin
      • Collagen
      • Fibroin
  • Storage
      • Starch
      • Glycogen
vegetable fibers fruit fiber cellulose
Vegetable fibersFruit fiber (cellulose)

Used for the manufacture of dormats, brushes and insulation



vegetable fibers bast fiber cellulose
Vegetable fibersBast fiber (cellulose)


Fibers for rope manufacturing


vegetable fibers bast fiber cellulose1
Vegetable fibersBast fiber (cellulose)


Flax (linen)



… also trees, papyrus, soybean, ocra, banana… and many other plants

Used for manufacturing of ropes, yarn, paper, burlap (hessian)

vegetable fibers stalk fiber cellulose
Vegetable fibersStalk fiber (cellulose)

Straws of wheat, rice, barley, and other crops including bamboo, rattan and grass

Used for numerous purposes, eg building materials

Rattan chair

vegetable carbohydrates storage starch glycogen
Vegetable carbohydratesStorage (starch, glycogen)

Electron micrograph of liver tissue

animal fibers hair protein keratin
Animal fibersHair (protein – keratin)

Wool from sheep, goats, rabbits and llamas is used for the manufacturing of yarn, textiles and felt.

animal fibers sinews skin cartilage and bones protein collagen
Animal fibersSinews, skin, cartilage, and bones (protein – collagen)

Production of glue, gelatin and collagen

chemistry structure and functions
Chemistry, structure and functions
  • DNA
    • Building blocks
    • Structure
    • Function
  • Protein
    • Building blocks
    • Structures
    • Self assembly
    • Examples
  • Carbohydrates
    • Building blocks
    • Structures
    • Examples
dna rna carrier of information building blocks
DNA (RNA) - carrier of informationBuilding blocks
  • Deoxyribonucleic acid
    • Four building blocks – A, T, C, G (bases)
    • Two base pairs – A:T and G:C
  • Ribonucleic acid
    • Four building blocks – A, U, C, G (bases)
    • Two base pairs – A:U and G:C
    • Both 2’ and 3’ hydroxyls on ribose



dna and rna function
DNA and RNA function
  • Keeper of information (DNA)
  • Carrier of information (DNA and mRNA)
  • Transport and fidelity (tRNA)
  • Control of transcription (siRNA)
  • Control of translation (tmRNA, mRNA)
  • Ribozymes (RNA-enzymes, Ribosome)
protein carrier of function
Protein - carrier of function
  • Polymer of amino acids
  • Only L-amino acidsin natural proteins
polypeptide synthesis
Polypeptide synthesis
  • Peptide bond formation
protein function
Protein function
  • Enzyme
  • Transport
  • Timers
  • Fidelity
  • Controle
  • Structural proteins

Hair, horns, skin, nails, hoofs and tortoise shells are made of keratin


Sinews, skin, cartilage, and bones

carbohydrates mono and disaccharides
CarbohydratesMono- and disaccharides
  • Polymers of sugar-monomers








carbohydrates synthesis and degradation
CarbohydratesSynthesis and degradation
  • Enzymatic catalysed synthesis
  • Structure and sequence is enzyme coded
  • Enzymatic catalysed degradation
polysaccharide structure dextran
Polysaccharide structureDextran

Leuconostoc mesenteroides


n Sucrose (glucose)n + n fructose


polysaccharide structure agar agarose
Polysaccharide structureAgar - agarose


design of novel functions
Design of novel functions
  • Nano-materials
    • Defined layers
    • Surfaces
    • Tubes - conductors
  • Multi-diciplinary development
    • DNA and Protein
    • Carbohydrates
    • Organic chemistry
    • Inorganic chemistry
    • Electrochemistry
self assembly
Self assembly
  • Exploite biopolymer association
    • Selectivity
    • Specificity
    • Affinity
  • Develop binding koordination
    • Surface grafting
    • Sequential binding
    • Enzymatic activation
    • Bloking and deblocking
surface design1
Surface design


Peptide Nucleic Acid

artificial spider web nexus
Artificial spider webNEXUS

Spider glands

Fibroin produced in a transgenic goat

future materials1
Future materials