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The Protein Ferritin as an Environmentally Relevant Nanosystem

Daniel Strongin
Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Ferritin and ferritin-like protein can be used to assemble nanosized catalytic metal oxyhydroxide particles in the size range of 1 to 8 nm. Horse spleen ferritin and Listeria Innocua ferritin-like protein were used to assemble Fe(O)OH particles ranging from 4 to 8 nm and 1 to 4 nm in diameter, respectively. Probe molecules were used to investigate the surface reactivity of the nanoparticles assembled within ferritin, with and without the surrounding protein, as a function of size. With regard to the latter circumstance, ferritin was deposited on a Si support, dried, and exposed to oxidizing conditions to remove the protein shell. Investigations concerned with the reactivity of ferritin in aqueous solutions and the use of ferritin as a precursor for supported nanocatalysts will be summarized. The reactivity of the supported nanoparticles toward environmentally relevant reactant showed a strong dependence with the particle size and structure.

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