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Biofunctionalization of Nanomaterials Nanotechnologies for the Life Sciences Vol. 1

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Biofunctionalization of
Nanomaterials Nanotechnologies
for the Life Sciences, Vol. 1
Edited by Challa
Kumar. Wiley-VCH,
Weinheim 2005.
425 pp., hardcover
E 139.00.—ISBN
With this first volume, Biofunctionalization of Nanomaterials, Wiley-VCH and
the editor, Challa Kumar, introduce a
series that has an ambitious aim. The
plan is for a ten-volume encyclopedia
that will collect together and critically
evaluate all aspects of the current state
of knowledge about the use of nanotechnology in the life sciences. This is
certainly one of the most dynamic areas
of research at present, and therefore to
attempt a comprehensive summary and
evaluation is a challenging task. Moreover, this field has the distinction that,
perhaps more than any other current
area of research, it has inputs from
chemistry, biology, biochemistry, materials science, and physics. Therefore, it is
important that the knowledge must be
communicated in a way that extends
beyond the boundaries of the classical
disciplines. In his preface, the editor
makes it clear that he fully recognizes
this situation. It is too early, after looking through this first volume, to reach a
verdict about how well the encyclopedia
as a whole will succeed in focusing on
the subject. My impression is that the
work will mainly be an overview written
by chemists, materials scientists, and
physicists for the benefit of these same
groups. However, it remains to be seen
whether it is also of interest as a knowledge base for a life scientist who is
seeking solutions to a specific practical
problem. All the authors of the chapters
have made considerable efforts to
approach their topics in the interdisciplinary way that the editor describes
appropriately as lateral thinking, but in
this volume I did not find the life
sciences perspective that could identify
future needs and thus serve as a stimulus
for further developments.
In accordance with the overall aim
of the work, most of the chapters begin
with a brief description of the fundamentals and special aspects of the particular nanotechnological principle
under discussion. That is followed by a
detailed description of the biofunctionalization of the material, and finally by
examples of applications. The chapters
are grouped in a number of different
ways: according to function (“Biofunctionalization of Fluorescent Nanoparticles”, by Murcia and Naumann; “Biofunctionalization of Magnetic Nanoparticles”, by Gao), according to the materials (“Biofunctionalization of Carbon
Nanotubes”, by Bekyarova, Haddon,
and Parpura; “Biofunctionalization of
Gold Nanoparticles”, by Zheng and
Huang; “Biofunctionalization of Phospholipid Polymer Nanoparticles”, by
Watanabe, Park, Ito, Takai, and Sun;
“Stabilization and Functionalization of
Metallic Nanoparticles: the Peptide
Route”, by L$vy and Doty; “Gelatine
Nanoparticles and their Biofunctionalization”, by Kommareddy, Shenoy, and
Amiji), or according to a specific application (“Biofunctionalization of Metallic Nanoparticles and Microarrays for
Biomolecular Detection”, by Festag,
Klenz, Henkel, CsGki, and Fritzsche;
“Folate-linked Lipid-based Nanoparticles for Tumor-targeted Gene Therapy”,
by Hattori and Maitani; “Magnetic Core
Conducting Polymer Shell Nanocomposites for DNA Attachment and Hybridization”, by Lellouche).
Although this switching between
different perspectives is sensible in principle, it loses some of its value through
the absence of cross-references between
the chapters. The index does not entirely
compensate for that disadvantage, and it
should be revised in future editions, as
there is some arbitrariness and lack of
consistency between entries (e.g., it lists
p. 160; core/shell nanoparticles, p. 79;
core-shell particles, pp. 159–160; core/
shell structure, magnetic nanoparticles,
p. 73). Also, one notices a lack of clear
definition in the way that concepts are
treated in the volume; for example,
there is some avoidable redundancy in
the statements of general principles at
the beginnings of different chapters. The
5 2006 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
introductions to some of the chapters
are so brief that chemists, physicists, and
materials scientists who already have
some familiarity with the subject will not
gain any new insights from them,
whereas on the other hand they are not
suitable as an introduction to the topics
for biologists or medical scientists,
because they assume a knowledge of
concepts of chemistry and physics. However, the reader who seeks information
about a subject that comes mainly
within the scope of the highly topical
chapter titles will quickly get an overview of the current state of knowledge.
Nevertheless, with regard to the purpose
of an encyclopedia, it would perhaps
have been better to include some more
general chapters, in which concepts
would be defined, and recurrent problems, such as how to achieve “biocompatibility”, would be considered in
detail. Other chapters of a more specialized kind could then refer the reader
to those general chapters, without the
need to explain the basics again in great
detail. The articles are written in a
clearly understandable way, with the
help of appropriate and informative
diagrams. Nearly all the authors have
resisted the temptation of referring only
to their own publications. The literature
coverage extends mainly up to about
2004, and in a few cases to 2005.
Readers will probably look forward
with interest to Volume 4 of the encyclopedia (Nanosystem Characterization
Tools in Life Sciences), in which one can
expect to find details of the methods
used to verify the structures relating to
organic coatings and inorganic nanoparticles that are reproduced in the
many formula schemes. It seems to me,
from the perspective of a chemist, that
there is an urgent need for more
research here, since the properties of
functionalized nanoparticles depend on
the structures at both levels. Neither the
established methods of organic structural analysis nor solid-state analytical
techniques yield complete structural
information, and sometimes they
cannot even be applied at all. Thus, it
surprises me that, in an encyclopedia
volume, one finds only a few scattered
brief references to these difficulties.
In conclusion, it is to be hoped that
the editor, authors, and publisher will
succeed in attracting many interested
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2006, 45, 4399 – 4401
readers to the series Nanotechnologies
for the Life Sciences, as an up-to-date
collection of articles on this theme, even
though the encyclopedic ambition has
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2006, 45, 4399 – 4401
not been fully achieved in this first
Gunther Wittstock
Institut f<r Reine und Angewandte
Chemie und Institut f<r Chemie und
Biologie des Meeres
Universit?t Oldenburg (Germany)
DOI: 10.1002/anie.200585387
5 2006 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
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nanomaterials, biofunctionalization, nanotechnologie, life, vol, science
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