Credit: World Nation News
The Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University has created tiny, leak-proof pipes using DNA strands. Each nanotube has a diameter of around 7 x 10-9 m and a length comparable to a dust particle.
Different nanotubes can be combined to create expansive networks of DNA pipes, which can then be connected to various microscopic biostructures to perform a variety of tasks like the movement of biological molecules.
One of the principal investigators and an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University (JHU), Rebecca Schulman, explained the potential of nanotubes to IE, stating “Tinier plumbing might help us analyse small molecules, which might assist us to make more effective medications or enzymes, distinct toxins, or even establish enhanced batteries by creating the passageways that ions flow through rather than using a porous material.”
The length distinction between nanotubes and nanopores is the main one. An average nanopore is 10–50 nm long, and the sort of leakage that takes place there is closed type. A nanotube, on the other hand, is measured in microns and functions like a genuine conduit that can move material through obstructions.
“In our case, we build pipes that can transport material across a membrane and then an additional micron or longer that can transport material over a membrane barrier and then along a pipe to a final location that is one micron away,” explained Professor Schulman. But a different kind of leak can happen in a microscopic pipe, similar to what you can see in plumbing: holes in the tube’s walls that could allow material to leak out.
According to Professor Schulman, several teams are presently developing nanotubes for application in medicine delivery. In designed tissues, they may be used to control the movement of chemicals or ions between cells. For the purpose of developing lab-grown tissues like cardiac patches, this sort of application might be crucial.
Although nanotube applications appear to be promising, they are still only used in lab settings. Therefore, more investigation, research on animals, and clinical trials are required before nanotubes are widely used.
Professor Schulman said that the group had only looked at leakage for a certain kind of molecule, a fluorescent dye. To find out what kinds of molecules can be transported or collected with ease, they will need to apply these techniques to different molecules. They also think they will need to create a covering for the tubes in order to transmit anything smaller, like ions, so they are working on that as well.
In order to construct huge plumbing networks, the researchers will connect nanotubes as pipes and use nanopores as their connections.
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