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Biomimetics, Volume 6, Issue 1 (March 2021) – 21 articles

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Essay
The Challenges of Inferring Organic Function from Structure and Its Emulation in Biomechanics and Biomimetics
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 21; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics6010021 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 777
Abstract
The discipline called biomimetics attempts to create synthetic systems that model the behavior and functions of biological systems. At a very basic level, this approach incorporates a philosophy grounded in modeling either the behavior or properties of organic systems based on inferences of [...] Read more.
The discipline called biomimetics attempts to create synthetic systems that model the behavior and functions of biological systems. At a very basic level, this approach incorporates a philosophy grounded in modeling either the behavior or properties of organic systems based on inferences of structure–function relationships. This approach has achieved extraordinary scientific accomplishments, both in fabricating new materials and structures. However, it is also prone to misstep because (1) many organic structures are multifunctional that have reconciled conflicting individual functional demands (rather than maximize the performance of any one task) over evolutionary time, and (2) some structures are ancillary or entirely superfluous to the functions their associated systems perform. The important point is that we must typically infer function from structure, and that is not always easy to do even when behavioral characteristics are available (e.g., the delivery of venom by the fangs of a snake, or cytoplasmic toxins by the leaf hairs of the stinging nettle). Here, we discuss both of these potential pitfalls by comparing and contrasting how engineered and organic systems are operationally analyzed. We also address the challenges that emerge when an organic system is modeled and suggest a few methods to evaluate the validity of models in general. Full article
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Article
Nanofibrous Gelatin-Based Biomaterial with Improved Biomimicry Using D-Periodic Self-Assembled Atelocollagen
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 20; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics6010020 - 18 Mar 2021
Viewed by 778
Abstract
Design of bioinspired materials that mimic the extracellular matrix (ECM) at the nanoscale is a challenge in tissue engineering. While nanofibrillar gelatin materials mimic chemical composition and nano-architecture of natural ECM collagen components, it lacks the characteristic D-staggered array (D-periodicity) of 67 nm, [...] Read more.
Design of bioinspired materials that mimic the extracellular matrix (ECM) at the nanoscale is a challenge in tissue engineering. While nanofibrillar gelatin materials mimic chemical composition and nano-architecture of natural ECM collagen components, it lacks the characteristic D-staggered array (D-periodicity) of 67 nm, which is an important cue in terms of cell recognition and adhesion properties. In this study, a nanofibrous gelatin matrix with improved biomimicry is achieved using a formulation including a minimal content of D-periodic self-assembled atelocollagen. We suggest a processing route approach consisting of the thermally induced phase separation of the gelatin based biopolymeric mixture precursor followed by chemical-free material cross-linking. The matrix nanostructure is characterized using field emission gun scanning electron microscopy (FEG-SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), wide angle X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR). The cell culture assays indicate that incorporation of 2.6 wt.% content of D-periodic atelocollagen to the gelatin material, produces a significant increase of MC3T3-E1 mouse preosteoblast cells attachment and human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) proliferation, in comparison with related bare gelatin matrices. The presented results demonstrate the achievement of an efficient route to produce a cost-effective, compositionally defined and low immunogenic “collagen-like” instructive biomaterial, based on gelatin. Full article
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Article
Enhanced Antimould Action of Surface Modified Copper Oxide Nanoparticles with Phenylboronic Acid Surface Functionality
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 19; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics6010019 - 15 Mar 2021
Viewed by 752
Abstract
Antimould agents are widely used in different applications, such as specialty paints, building materials, wood preservation and crop protection. However, many antimould agents can be toxic to the environment. This work aims to evaluate the application of copper oxide nanoparticles (CuONPs) surface modified [...] Read more.
Antimould agents are widely used in different applications, such as specialty paints, building materials, wood preservation and crop protection. However, many antimould agents can be toxic to the environment. This work aims to evaluate the application of copper oxide nanoparticles (CuONPs) surface modified with boronic acid (BA) terminal groups as antimould agents. We developed CuONPs grafted with (3-glycidyloxypropyl) trimethoxysilane (GLYMO), coupled with 4-hydroxyphenylboronic acid (4-HPBA), which provided a strong boost of their action as antimould agents. We studied the antimould action of the 4-HPBA-functionalized CuONPs against two mould species: Aspergillus niger (A. niger) and Penicillium chrysogenum (P. chrysogenum). The cis-diol groups of polysaccharides expressed on the mould cell walls can form reversible covalent bonds with the BA groups attached on the CuONPs surface. This allowed them to bind strongly to the mould surface, resulting in a very substantial boost of their antimould activity, which is not based on electrostatic adhesion, as in the case of bare CuONPs. The impact of these BA-surface functionalized nanoparticles was studied by measuring the growth of the mould colonies versus time. The BA-functionalized CuONPs showed significant antimould action, compared to the untreated mould sample at the same conditions and period of time. These results can be applied for the development of more efficient antimould treatments at a lower concentration of active agent with potentially substantial economic and environmental benefits. Full article
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Article
Bio-Inspired Design of a Porous Resorbable Scaffold for Bone Reconstruction: A Preliminary Study
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 18; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics6010018 - 10 Mar 2021
Viewed by 821
Abstract
The study and imitation of the biological and mechanical systems present in nature and living beings always have been sources of inspiration for improving existent technologies and establishing new ones. Pursuing this line of thought, we consider an artificial graft typical in the [...] Read more.
The study and imitation of the biological and mechanical systems present in nature and living beings always have been sources of inspiration for improving existent technologies and establishing new ones. Pursuing this line of thought, we consider an artificial graft typical in the bone reconstruction surgery with the same microstructure of the bone living tissue and examine the interaction between these two phases, namely bone and the graft material. Specifically, a visco-poroelastic second gradient model is adopted for the bone-graft composite system to describe it at a macroscopic level of observation. The second gradient formulation is employed to consider possibly size effects and as a macroscopic source of interstitial fluid flow, which is usually regarded as a key factor in bone remodeling. With the help of the proposed formulation and via a simple example, we show that the model can be used as a graft design tool. As a matter of fact, an optimization of the characteristics of the implant can be carried out by numerical investigations. In this paper, we observe that the size of the graft considerably influences the interaction between bone tissue and artificial bio-resorbable material and the possibility that the bone tissue might substitute more or less partially the foreign graft for better bone healing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioinspired Intelligence II)
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Article
Pipeline Inspection Tests Using a Biomimetic Robot
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 17; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics6010017 - 09 Mar 2021
Viewed by 882
Abstract
This paper presents a biomimetic prototype of a mobile robot that can be used to inspect the subdrainage conditions of pipelines located along different highways in Mexico. Computer-aided design tools have been used to size each of the prototype components as inspired by [...] Read more.
This paper presents a biomimetic prototype of a mobile robot that can be used to inspect the subdrainage conditions of pipelines located along different highways in Mexico. Computer-aided design tools have been used to size each of the prototype components as inspired by anatomical spider structure. Springs are integrated to generate proper contact pressure against the pipe walls. The robot locomotion system is implemented with adaptable behaviour for the irregularities of pipelines along its journey. The robot prototype is manufactured in 3D printing with the advantage of having its spare parts easily replaceable. Reported results show internal pipe status through a mini video camera on the top of the robot. Full article
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Article
Color-Patterns to Architecture Conversion through Conditional Generative Adversarial Networks
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 16; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics6010016 - 17 Feb 2021
Viewed by 882
Abstract
Often an apparent complex reality can be extrapolated into certain patterns that in turn are evidenced in natural behaviors (whether biological, chemical or physical). The Architecture Design field has manifested these patterns as a conscious (inspired designs) or unconscious manner (emerging organizations). If [...] Read more.
Often an apparent complex reality can be extrapolated into certain patterns that in turn are evidenced in natural behaviors (whether biological, chemical or physical). The Architecture Design field has manifested these patterns as a conscious (inspired designs) or unconscious manner (emerging organizations). If such patterns exist and can be recognized, can we therefore use them as genotypic DNA? Can we be capable of generating a phenotypic architecture that is manifestly more complex than the original pattern? Recent developments in the field of Evo-Devo around gene regulators patterns or the explosive development of Machine Learning tools could be combined to set the basis for developing new, disruptive workflows for both design and analysis. This study will test the feasibility of using conditional Generative Adversarial Networks (cGANs) as a tool for coding architecture into color pattern-based images and translating them into 2D architectural representations. A series of scaled tests are performed to check the feasibility of the hypothesis. A second test assesses the flexibility of the trained neural networks against cases outside the database. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proto-Architecture and Unconventional Biomaterials II)
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Article
Fabrication of Nanopores Polylactic Acid Microtubes by Core-Sheath Electrospinning for Capillary Vascularization
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 15; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics6010015 - 16 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 885
Abstract
There has been substantial progress in tissue engineering of biological substitutes for medical applications. One of the major challenges in development of complex tissues is the difficulty of creating vascular networks for engineered constructs. The diameter of current artificial vascular channels is usually [...] Read more.
There has been substantial progress in tissue engineering of biological substitutes for medical applications. One of the major challenges in development of complex tissues is the difficulty of creating vascular networks for engineered constructs. The diameter of current artificial vascular channels is usually at millimeter or submillimeter level, while human capillaries are about 5 to 10 µm in diameter. In this paper, a novel core-sheath electrospinning process was adopted to fabricate nanoporous microtubes to mimic the structure of fenestrated capillary vessels. A mixture of polylactic acid (PLA) and polyethylene glycol (PEO) was used as the sheath solution and PEO was used as the core solution. The microtubes were observed under a scanning electron microscope and the images were analyzed by ImageJ. The diameter of the microtubes ranged from 1–8 microns. The diameter of the nanopores ranged from 100 to 800 nm. The statistical analysis showed that the microtube diameter was significantly influenced by the PEO ratio in the sheath solution, pump rate, and the viscosity gradient between the sheath and the core solution. The electrospun microtubes with nanoscale pores highly resemble human fenestrated capillaries. Therefore, the nanoporous microtubes have great potential to support vascularization in engineered tissues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Nanotechnology Vol. 2)
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Article
Simulating the Fast Prediction Strategy of the Sensorimotor System
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 14; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics6010014 - 10 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1490
Abstract
The values of a physiological parameter and its time derivatives, detected at different times by different sensory receptors, are processed by the sensorimotor system to predict the time evolution of the parameter and convey appropriate control commands acting with minimum latency (few milliseconds) [...] Read more.
The values of a physiological parameter and its time derivatives, detected at different times by different sensory receptors, are processed by the sensorimotor system to predict the time evolution of the parameter and convey appropriate control commands acting with minimum latency (few milliseconds) from the sensory stimulus. We have derived a power-series expansion (U-expansion) to simulate the fast prediction strategy of the sensorimotor system. Given a time-function f, a time-instant t0, and a time-increment ττ, the U-expansion enables the calculation of τf(t0+τ) from f(t0) and the values f(n)(tn) of the derivatives f(n) of f at arbitrarily different times tn (n=1,2,), instead of time t0 as in the Taylor series. For increments ττ significantly greater than the maximum t among the differences |tntn1|, the error associated with truncation of the U-expansion at a given order closely equalizes the error of the corresponding Taylor series (t=0) truncated at the same order. Small values of t and higher values of ττ correspond to the high-frequency discharge of sensory neurons and the need for longer-term prediction, respectively. Taking inspiration from the sensorimotor system, the U-expansion can potentially provide an analytical background for the development of algorithms designed for the fast and accurate feedback control of nonlinear systems. Full article
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Article
An Evaluation Methodology for Interactive Reinforcement Learning with Simulated Users
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 13; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics6010013 - 09 Feb 2021
Viewed by 926
Abstract
Interactive reinforcement learning methods utilise an external information source to evaluate decisions and accelerate learning. Previous work has shown that human advice could significantly improve learning agents’ performance. When evaluating reinforcement learning algorithms, it is common to repeat experiments as parameters are altered [...] Read more.
Interactive reinforcement learning methods utilise an external information source to evaluate decisions and accelerate learning. Previous work has shown that human advice could significantly improve learning agents’ performance. When evaluating reinforcement learning algorithms, it is common to repeat experiments as parameters are altered or to gain a sufficient sample size. In this regard, to require human interaction every time an experiment is restarted is undesirable, particularly when the expense in doing so can be considerable. Additionally, reusing the same people for the experiment introduces bias, as they will learn the behaviour of the agent and the dynamics of the environment. This paper presents a methodology for evaluating interactive reinforcement learning agents by employing simulated users. Simulated users allow human knowledge, bias, and interaction to be simulated. The use of simulated users allows the development and testing of reinforcement learning agents, and can provide indicative results of agent performance under defined human constraints. While simulated users are no replacement for actual humans, they do offer an affordable and fast alternative for evaluative assisted agents. We introduce a method for performing a preliminary evaluation utilising simulated users to show how performance changes depending on the type of user assisting the agent. Moreover, we describe how human interaction may be simulated, and present an experiment illustrating the applicability of simulating users in evaluating agent performance when assisted by different types of trainers. Experimental results show that the use of this methodology allows for greater insight into the performance of interactive reinforcement learning agents when advised by different users. The use of simulated users with varying characteristics allows for evaluation of the impact of those characteristics on the behaviour of the learning agent. Full article
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Article
Discriminative Multi-Stream Postfilters Based on Deep Learning for Enhancing Statistical Parametric Speech Synthesis
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 12; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics6010012 - 07 Feb 2021
Viewed by 939
Abstract
Statistical parametric speech synthesis based on Hidden Markov Models has been an important technique for the production of artificial voices, due to its ability to produce results with high intelligibility and sophisticated features such as voice conversion and accent modification with a small [...] Read more.
Statistical parametric speech synthesis based on Hidden Markov Models has been an important technique for the production of artificial voices, due to its ability to produce results with high intelligibility and sophisticated features such as voice conversion and accent modification with a small footprint, particularly for low-resource languages where deep learning-based techniques remain unexplored. Despite the progress, the quality of the results, mainly based on Hidden Markov Models (HMM) does not reach those of the predominant approaches, based on unit selection of speech segments of deep learning. One of the proposals to improve the quality of HMM-based speech has been incorporating postfiltering stages, which pretend to increase the quality while preserving the advantages of the process. In this paper, we present a new approach to postfiltering synthesized voices with the application of discriminative postfilters, with several long short-term memory (LSTM) deep neural networks. Our motivation stems from modeling specific mapping from synthesized to natural speech on those segments corresponding to voiced or unvoiced sounds, due to the different qualities of those sounds and how HMM-based voices can present distinct degradation on each one. The paper analyses the discriminative postfilters obtained using five voices, evaluated using three objective measures, Mel cepstral distance and subjective tests. The results indicate the advantages of the discriminative postilters in comparison with the HTS voice and the non-discriminative postfilters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioinspired Intelligence II)
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Editorial
Acknowledgment to Reviewers of Biomimetics in 2020
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 11; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics6010011 - 31 Jan 2021
Viewed by 772
Abstract
Peer review is the driving force of journal development, and reviewers are gatekeepers who ensure that Biomimetics maintains its standards for the high quality of its published papers [...] Full article
Article
Biological Evaluation of Oil-in-Water Microemulsions as Carriers of Benzothiophene Analogues for Dermal Applications
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 10; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics6010010 - 27 Jan 2021
Viewed by 862
Abstract
During the last decade, many studies have been reported on the design and formulation of novel drug delivery systems proposed for dermal or transdermal administration. The efforts focus on the development of biocompatible nanodispersions that can be delivered to the skin and treat [...] Read more.
During the last decade, many studies have been reported on the design and formulation of novel drug delivery systems proposed for dermal or transdermal administration. The efforts focus on the development of biocompatible nanodispersions that can be delivered to the skin and treat severe skin disorders, including cancer. In this context, oil-in-water (O/W) microemulsions have been developed to encapsulate and deliver lipophilic bioactive molecules for dermal application. An O/W biocompatible microemulsion composed of PBS buffer, Tween 80, and triacetin was assessed for its efficacy as a drug carrier of DPS-2, a lead compound, initially designed in-house to inhibit BRAFV600E oncogenic kinase. The system was evaluated through both in vitro and ex vivo approaches. The cytotoxic effect, in the presence and absence of DPS-2, was examined through the thiazolyl blue tetrazolium bromide (MTT) cell proliferation assay using various cell lines. Further investigation through Western blotting revealed that cells died of necrosis. Porcine ear skin was used as a skin model to evaluate the degree of permeation of DPS-2 through skin and assess its retention. Through the ex vivo experiments, it was clarified that encapsulated DPS-2 was distributed within the full thickness of the stratum corneum (SC) and had a high affinity to hair follicles. Full article
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Review
Mesoporous Bioactive Glasses Cytocompatibility Assessment: A Review of In Vitro Studies
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 9; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics6010009 - 23 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 959
Abstract
Thanks to their high porosity and surface area, mesoporous bioactive glasses (MBGs) have gained significant interest in the field of medical applications, in particular, with regards to enhanced bioactive properties which facilitate bone regeneration. The aim of this article is to review the [...] Read more.
Thanks to their high porosity and surface area, mesoporous bioactive glasses (MBGs) have gained significant interest in the field of medical applications, in particular, with regards to enhanced bioactive properties which facilitate bone regeneration. The aim of this article is to review the state of the art regarding the biocompatibility evaluation of MBGs and provide a discussion of the various approaches taken. The research was performed using PubMed database and covered articles published in the last five years. From a total of 91 articles, 63 were selected after analyzing them according to our inclusion and exclusion criteria. In vitro methodologies and techniques used for biocompatibility assessment were investigated. Among the biocompatibility assessment techniques, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) has been widely used to study cell morphology and adhesion. Viability and proliferation were assessed using different assays including cell counting and/or cell metabolic activity measurement. Finally, cell differentiation tests relied on the alkaline phosphatase assay; however, these were often complemented by specific bimolecular tests according to the exact application of the mesoporous bioactive glass. The standardization and validation of all tests performed for MBG cytocompatibility is a key aspect and crucial point and should be considered in order to avoid inconsistencies, bias between studies, and unnecessary consumption of time. Therefore, introducing standard tests would serve an important role in the future assessment and development of MBG materials. Full article
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Article
Proof of Concept (PoC) 1.0—Implementing a Bioshading System Design Method
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 8; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics6010008 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 909
Abstract
Nature provides a remarkable database of possible adaptation strategies that can be implemented in biomimetic design of shading systems. However, at this moment, successful design methods are conditioned to a limited knowledge and ability to emulate nature’s strategies to meet corresponding functional needs. [...] Read more.
Nature provides a remarkable database of possible adaptation strategies that can be implemented in biomimetic design of shading systems. However, at this moment, successful design methods are conditioned to a limited knowledge and ability to emulate nature’s strategies to meet corresponding functional needs. The implementation of biomimetic processes has some major challenges: (1) the search and selection among several databases of appropriate strategies adopted by nature; (2) difficulties in reading, interpreting and translating at different scales; (3) connection problems between concepts and material premises. The selection of nature models is a very common situation among architectural projects. Proof of Concept (PoC) 1.0 was the first experience of application of the Bioshading System Design Method (BSDM). BSDM is a problem-based method that guides its users since the initial architectural challenge definition, improving users’ capabilities to interpret and translate nature strategies into architecture design, until its final state of creation, it’s physical condition. This experience enabled us to validate and evolve initial decisions, based on users experience and evaluation. At the end, PoC 1.0 revealed to be a fundamental step into the final version of BSDM. Full article
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Article
Incorporation of Chitosan Nanoparticles into a Cold-Cure Orthodontic Acrylic Resin: Effects on Mechanical Properties
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 7; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics6010007 - 15 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 955
Abstract
Improvement of the antibacterial properties of acrylic resins, used in the construction of removable orthodontic appliances, is an important strategy to reduce the incidence of caries and oral diseases in orthodontic treatments. The addition of antimicrobial agents to acrylic resins is one of [...] Read more.
Improvement of the antibacterial properties of acrylic resins, used in the construction of removable orthodontic appliances, is an important strategy to reduce the incidence of caries and oral diseases in orthodontic treatments. The addition of antimicrobial agents to acrylic resins is one of the effective methods to enhance the antimicrobial properties of these materials. However, one main concern is that modification of acrylic resin has negative effects on its mechanical properties. Recently, chitosan nanoparticles (NPs), as biocompatible and biodegradable polysaccharides with remarkable antimicrobial properties, have been used in different areas of dentistry and medicine. This study aimed to investigate the effects of adding chitosan NPs on the mechanical properties of a cold-cure orthodontic acrylic resin. The chitosan NPs were added to the acrylic resin in various weight percentages: 0% (control), 0.5%, 1%, 2%, and 4%. The flexural strength, compressive strength, Vickers microhardness, and impact strength measurements were performed for all five groups. The results showed that adding up to 1% (w/w) chitosan NPs to an acrylic resin had no significant negative effects on its flexural strength and compressive strength, while it decreased these parameters at weight percentages of 2% and 4% (w/w). The results also revealed that modification of acrylic resin with chitosan NPs up to 4% had no significant negative effects on the microhardness and impact strength of acrylic resin. In conclusion, the addition of chitosan NPs up to 1% (w/w) had no significant negative effects on the mechanical properties of cold-cure acrylic resin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanical Characterization of Biomaterials)
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Review
The Potential of Honeybee Products for Biomaterial Applications
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 6; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics6010006 - 15 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1395
Abstract
The development of biomaterials required continuous improvements in their properties for new tissue engineering applications. Implants based on biocompatible materials and biomaterial-based dressings are susceptible to infection threat; moreover, target tissues can suffer injuring inflammation. The inclusion of nature-derived bioactive compounds usually offers [...] Read more.
The development of biomaterials required continuous improvements in their properties for new tissue engineering applications. Implants based on biocompatible materials and biomaterial-based dressings are susceptible to infection threat; moreover, target tissues can suffer injuring inflammation. The inclusion of nature-derived bioactive compounds usually offers a suitable strategy to expand or increase the functional properties of biomaterial scaffolds and can even promote tissue healing. Honey is traditionally known for its healing property and is a mixture of phytochemicals that have a proven reputation as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant agents. This review discusses on the potential of honey and other honeybee products for biomaterial improvements. Our study illustrates the available and most recent literature reporting the use of these natural products combined with different polymeric scaffolds, to provide original insights in wound healing and other tissue regenerative approaches. Full article
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Article
Modeling of the Van Der Waals Forces during the Adhesion of Capsule-Shaped Bacteria to Flat Surfaces
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 5; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics6010005 - 08 Jan 2021
Viewed by 872
Abstract
A novel model is developed to evaluate the van der Waals (vdW) interactions between a capsule shaped bacterium (P. putida) and flat minerals plates in different approach profiles: Vertically and horizontally. A comparison of the approaches to the well-developed spherical particle [...] Read more.
A novel model is developed to evaluate the van der Waals (vdW) interactions between a capsule shaped bacterium (P. putida) and flat minerals plates in different approach profiles: Vertically and horizontally. A comparison of the approaches to the well-developed spherical particle to mineral surface (semi-infinite wall and spherical) approach has been made in this investigation. The van der Waals (vdW) interaction potentials for a capsule-shaped bacterium are found using Hamaker’s microscopic approach of sphere to plate and cylinder to plate either vertically or horizontally to the flat surface. The numerical results show that a horizontal orientated capsule shaped bacterium to mineral surface interaction was more attractive compared to a capsule shaped bacterium approaching vertically. The orientation of the bacterial approaching a surface as well as the type and topology of the mineral influence the adhesion of a bacteria to that surface. Furthermore, the density difference among each type of bacteria shape (capsule, cylinder, and sphere) require different amounts of energy to adhere to hematite and quartz surfaces. Full article
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Article
Photocatalytic Activity of Silver-Based Biomimetics Composites
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 4; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics6010004 - 04 Jan 2021
Viewed by 1237
Abstract
Different [email protected]2 and [email protected] catalysts, with nanowire (NW) structure, were synthesized containing different amounts of silver loading (1, 3, 5, and 10 wt.%) and characterized by FE-SEM, HRTEM, BET, XRD, Raman, XPS, and UV–vis. The photocatalytic activity of the composites was studied [...] Read more.
Different [email protected]2 and [email protected] catalysts, with nanowire (NW) structure, were synthesized containing different amounts of silver loading (1, 3, 5, and 10 wt.%) and characterized by FE-SEM, HRTEM, BET, XRD, Raman, XPS, and UV–vis. The photocatalytic activity of the composites was studied by the production of hydrogen via water splitting under UV–vis light and the degradation of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin. The maximum hydrogen production of all the silver-based catalysts was obtained with a silver loading of 10 wt.% under irradiation at 500 nm. Moreover, 10%[email protected]2 NWs was the catalyst with the highest activity in the hydrogen production reaction (1119 µmol/hg), being 18 times greater than the amount obtained with the pristine TiO2 NW catalyst. The most dramatic difference in hydrogen production was obtained with 10%[email protected]2-P25, 635 µmol/hg, being 36 times greater than the amount reported for the unmodified TiO2-P25 (18 µmol/hg). The enhancement of the catalytic activity is attributed to a synergism between the silver nanoparticles incorporated and the high surface area of the composites. In the case of the degradation of ciprofloxacin, all the silver-based catalysts degraded more than 70% of the antibiotic in 60 min. The catalyst that exhibited the best result was 3%[email protected] commercial, with 99.72% of degradation. The control experiments and stability tests showed that photocatalysis was the route of degradation and the selected silver-based catalysts were stable after seven cycles, with less than 1% loss of efficiency per cycle. These results suggest that the catalysts could be employed in additional cycles without the need to be resynthesized, thus reducing remediation costs. Full article
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Review
Mimicking the Mammalian Plasma Membrane: An Overview of Lipid Membrane Models for Biophysical Studies
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 3; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics6010003 - 31 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1299
Abstract
Cell membranes are very complex biological systems including a large variety of lipids and proteins. Therefore, they are difficult to extract and directly investigate with biophysical methods. For many decades, the characterization of simpler biomimetic lipid membranes, which contain only a few lipid [...] Read more.
Cell membranes are very complex biological systems including a large variety of lipids and proteins. Therefore, they are difficult to extract and directly investigate with biophysical methods. For many decades, the characterization of simpler biomimetic lipid membranes, which contain only a few lipid species, provided important physico-chemical information on the most abundant lipid species in cell membranes. These studies described physical and chemical properties that are most likely similar to those of real cell membranes. Indeed, biomimetic lipid membranes can be easily prepared in the lab and are compatible with multiple biophysical techniques. Lipid phase transitions, the bilayer structure, the impact of cholesterol on the structure and dynamics of lipid bilayers, and the selective recognition of target lipids by proteins, peptides, and drugs are all examples of the detailed information about cell membranes obtained by the investigation of biomimetic lipid membranes. This review focuses specifically on the advances that were achieved during the last decade in the field of biomimetic lipid membranes mimicking the mammalian plasma membrane. In particular, we provide a description of the most common types of lipid membrane models used for biophysical characterization, i.e., lipid membranes in solution and on surfaces, as well as recent examples of their applications for the investigation of protein-lipid and drug-lipid interactions. Altogether, promising directions for future developments of biomimetic lipid membranes are the further implementation of natural lipid mixtures for the development of more biologically relevant lipid membranes, as well as the development of sample preparation protocols that enable the incorporation of membrane proteins in the biomimetic lipid membranes. Full article
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Article
Biomimetic Urban and Architectural Design: Illustrating and Leveraging Relationships between Ecosystem Services
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 2; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics6010002 - 30 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1270
Abstract
Redesigning and retrofitting cities so they become complex systems that create ecological and cultural–societal health through the provision of ecosystem services is of critical importance. Although a handful of methodologies and frameworks for considering how to design urban environments so that they provide [...] Read more.
Redesigning and retrofitting cities so they become complex systems that create ecological and cultural–societal health through the provision of ecosystem services is of critical importance. Although a handful of methodologies and frameworks for considering how to design urban environments so that they provide ecosystem services have been proposed, their use is not widespread. A key barrier to their development has been identified as a lack of ecological knowledge about relationships between ecosystem services, which is then translated into the field of spatial design. In response, this paper examines recently published data concerning synergetic and conflicting relationships between ecosystem services from the field of ecology and then synthesises, translates, and illustrates this information for an architectural and urban design context. The intention of the diagrams created in this research is to enable designers and policy makers to make better decisions about how to effectively increase the provision of various ecosystem services in urban areas without causing unanticipated degradation in others. The results indicate that although targets of ecosystem services can be both spatially and metrically quantifiable while working across different scales, their effectiveness can be increased if relationships between them are considered during design phases of project development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Architectural and Urban Design)
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Review
Using X-ray Diffraction Techniques for Biomimetic Drug Development, Formulation, and Polymorphic Characterization
Biomimetics 2021, 6(1), 1; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomimetics6010001 - 30 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1260
Abstract
Drug development is a decades-long, multibillion dollar investment that often limits itself. To decrease the time to drug approval, efforts are focused on drug targets and drug formulation for optimal biocompatibility and efficacy. X-ray structural characterization approaches have catalyzed the drug discovery and [...] Read more.
Drug development is a decades-long, multibillion dollar investment that often limits itself. To decrease the time to drug approval, efforts are focused on drug targets and drug formulation for optimal biocompatibility and efficacy. X-ray structural characterization approaches have catalyzed the drug discovery and design process. Single crystal X-ray diffraction (SCXRD) reveals important structural details and molecular interactions for the manifestation of a disease or for therapeutic effect. Powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD) has provided a method to determine the different phases, purity, and stability of biological drug compounds that possess crystallinity. Recently, synchrotron sources have enabled wider access to the study of noncrystalline or amorphous solids. One valuable technique employed to determine atomic arrangements and local atom ordering of amorphous materials is the pair distribution function (PDF). PDF has been used in the study of amorphous solid dispersions (ASDs). ASDs are made up of an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) within a drug dispersed at the molecular level in an amorphous polymeric carrier. This information is vital for appropriate formulation of a drug for stability, administration, and efficacy purposes. Natural or biomimetic products are often used as the API or the formulation agent. This review profiles the deep insights that X-ray structural techniques and associated analytical methods can offer in the development of a drug. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimetic Functional (Nano)materials)
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