Inorganic mesoporous materials exhibit good biocompatibility and hydrothermal stability for cell immobilization. However, it is difficult to encapsulate living cells under mild conditions, and new strategies for cell immobilization are needed. We designed a “fish-in-net” approach for encapsulation of enzymes in ordered mesoporous silica under mild conditions. The main objective of this study is to demonstrate the potential of this approach in immobilization of living cells.
Zymomonas mobilis cells were encapsulated in mesoporous silica-based materials under mild conditions by using a “fish-in-net” approach. During the encapsulation process, polyethyleneglycol was used as an additive to improve the immobilization efficiency. After encapsulation, the pore size, morphology and other features were characterized by various methods, including scanning electron microscopy, nitrogen adsorption-desorption analysis, transmission electron microscopy, fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and elemental analysis. Furthermore, the capacity of ethanol production by immobilized Zymomonas mobilis and free Zymomonas mobilis was compared.
In this study, Zymomonas mobilis cells were successfully encapsulated in mesoporous silica-based materials under mild conditions by the “fish-in-net” approach. Encapsulated cells could perform normal metabolism and exhibited excellent reusability. The results presented here illustrate the enormous potential of the “fish-in-net” approach for immobilization of living cells.