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J Colloid Interface Sci. 2006 Jun 15;298(2):706-12. Epub 2006 Jan 19.

Characterization of silica-coated tobacco mosaic virus.

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  • 1School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


The deposition of silica on the surface of tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) is achieved at a higher pH (>7) as a means to enhance its usefulness as a template for the synthesis of nanostructures. Electron energy loss spectroscopy definitively shows the presence of a silica shell on the surface of the TMV while small angle X-ray scattering differentiates successfully between silica-coated TMV and silica particles in the presence of uncoated TMV. Importantly, coating reactions done in a 50% w/v methanol/water solution produce smaller silica nanostructures during the condensation of the hydrolysis intermediates, possibly aiding in obtaining uniform coating. Furthermore, TMV-templated silica coatings are found to enhance the stability of the virus particle in methanol at conditions that would ordinarily disrupt the assembled particle. Combined these findings demonstrate that TMV can function as an efficient template for the controlled deposition of silica at neutral pH.

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