Controlled release using mesoporous materials containing gate-like scaffoldings

Mesoporous silica materials have been developed for the controlled release of bioactive molecules, as catalysts in the synthesis of essential nutrients, as sensors to detect unhealthy products etc., with many applications in food technologies. The use of mesoporous silica supports as catalysts in the synthesis of nutrients and as sensors for the detection of unhealthy products, essential in food, is in great demand industrially for the manufacture of functional foods and films for food and industrial packaging.

Laurentia Technologies is promoting a proposal with the Spanish center IDM (Centro de Reconocimiento Molecular y Desarrollo Tecnológico) for implementing those systems in innovative protocols of molecular recognition and detection, where a concrete stimulus causes the opening of a gate-like scaffold and then the release of an indicator.

Controlled release process is performed by a storage system (silica nanoparticles MCM-41) capable of releasing chemical species through gate-like scaffoldings which control the release by using stimuli (presence of certain anions, pH changes, temperature, redox reactions and light irradiation, ...). Furthermore, the silica supports can be functionalized with molecules of biological nature as sugars, antibodies, peptides, oligonucleotides, able to be released by hydrolysis mechanisms caused by enzymes, by the presence of a complementary oligonucleotide, by specific antigen, etc.

The gate opening is selective. Only for the desired analyte. Few analyte molecules control the release of a large amount of the indicator from the pores. Moreover, this approach separates the recognition process from the sensor event, which makes the signal independent of the stoichiometry of the complex.

Having held various research works  applied to controlled release of dyes and / or fluorophores and checking operation through a color change or by increasing the emission signal, the IDM has focused on the controlled release of bioactive molecules (vitamins, antioxidants, hormones, anticancer, etc.) which are of great interest in the field of nutrition, biochemistry, pharmacology and medicine.


Potential applications:


  • Treatment of diseases involving tissue and / or cell degeneration such as cancer, Alzheimer's or Parkinson.
  • Development cosmetic topical therapies for the care of the skin and hair.
  • Regenerative treatment in skin disorders.
  • Carrier supplements in animal feed.
  • Controlled release of biocides.
  • To provide add value to existing materials: eg. encapsulation of agricultural co-products (from wine, oil industries) for different applications.

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