|Abstract: ||The present invention is directed to the use of silicic acid to transform
biological materials, including cellular architecture into inorganic
materials to provide biocomposites (nanomaterials) with stabilized
structure and function. In the present invention, there has been
discovered a means to stabilize the structure and function of biological
materials, including cells, biomolecules, peptides, proteins (especially
including enzymes), lipids, lipid vesicles, polysaccharides, cytoskeletal
filaments, tissue and organs with silicic acid such that these materials
may be used as biocomposites. In many instances, these materials retain
their original biological activity and may be used in harsh conditions
which would otherwise destroy the integrity of the biological material.
In certain instances, these biomaterials may be storage stable for long
periods of time and reconstituted after storage to return the biological
material back to its original form. In addition, by exposing an entire
cell to form CSCs, the CSCs may function to provide a unique system to
study enzymes or a cascade of enzymes which are otherwise unavailable.