Skip to comments.Enzymes power molecular logic
Posted on 03/15/2010 9:13:42 PM PDT by neverdem
A self-powered biomolecular security system has been developed by US scientists. This could be used to encrypt financial, military, or other confidential information.
Recent developments in the field of biocomputing have led to biomolecular systems that use chemical information to mimic digital electronics. Now Evgeny Katz and his team at Clarkson University, Potsdam, has taken the research a step further to make a keypad lock that powers itself using a biofuel cell.
The biocatalyst system is composed of three enzyme-catalysed reaction steps, explains Katz. Enzymes are applied as input signals to trigger the biochemical reactions and only when applied in the correct order produce a cascade reaction from starch to gluconic acid. Formation of gluconic acid produces a change in pH, which is used to turn on a polymer-brush modified electrode inside a biofuel cell that is integrated in the keypad system. At pH great than 5.5 the poymer-brush is in a non protonated hydrophobic state that inhibits electrochemical reactions but as the pH falls pyridine groups in the polymer-brush are protonated until it forms a positively charged hydrophilic thin-film allowing the electrode to be electrochemically active.
Only the correct enzyme password operates the biofuel cell
When the correct order of enzymes are used, the resulting acidic solution activates the cathode, switching on the biofuel cell, which produces an increase in current and power output. If the enzymes are added in the wrong order, the biofuel cell is not activated. This allows the security system to be operated without the need for an external power source as electrical power is produced when the correct enzyme 'password' is used.
'This is a fine example of how molecular logic and computation is growing,' comments A P de Silva, an expert in molecular-based logic and molecular switches at Queen's University Belfast, UK.
Katz says that while this work demonstrates the proof of concept, more work is needed to engineer a lab-on-a-chip microfluidic device that could find real applications. Also, up to 10 enzymes could be used and immune recognition components could be added to increase the system complexity.
Self-powered biomolecular keypad lock security system based on a biofuel cell
Jan Halámek, Tsz Kin Tam, Guinevere Strack, Vera Bocharova, Marcos Pita and Evgeny Katz, Chem. Commun., 2010
Interview: Molecular logic
A Prasanna de Silva tells Nicola Wise about sensors, supramolecular chemistry and how Sri Lankan percussion can play a part in Irish music
Instant Insight: Making sense of DNAzymes
Itamar Willner and colleagues from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, discuss the applications of DNA-based enzymes.
Molecular logic gates open up
Inorganic-organic hybrid nanoparticles make smart switches.
Not clear to me whether to get in you are supposed to provide it with a sample of the correct chemical, or punch in the correct code.
IMHO, you have to code in the correct sequence of enzymes. You can access the FReebie from the abstract.
I see. One would have to present the correct chemicals in the correct order.
If the system was set up to operate on volatile chemicals carried in something like a perfume sprayer having a different key for each chemical, one might say the system can smell a rat.
Proof that a democrat is dumber than a molecule...
Suppose the failure response was to release copious amounts of hydrocyanic acid gas...?
One less crass criminal. A cleansing of the gene pool. What's not to like about that?
People have no idea how important this information is in understanding auto immune disorders such as cancer and MS. I’ve ben working with this for a few years and have found that just as temperature significantly effects enzyme activation, so does operational frequency of consciousness, thus explaining why “Laughter is the Best Medicine.”
Enzymes are so fascinating. I make beer, and in the process of facilitating the beta and alpha amylase enzymes to convert starches to fermentable sugars, a temperature difference of only a few degrees from 154 degrees to 158 degrees can cause the reaction to change from producing fermentable monosacharides to unfermentable polysacharides. This yields a low alcohol sweet beer rather than a high alcohol dry tasting beer.
That’s why a good Belgian Triple is a difficult beer to brew. High alcohol and enough residual unfermentable sugar to offset the taste of the alcohol.