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+44 (0) 113 343 4228



Welcome to SANTS.

SANTS is a new EU project funded under the Nanotechnology Theme of Framework 6. 


The full title of the project is:

Synthesis and Application of Nanostructured Tethered Silicates.

The project is based on the observation that diatoms, which are small unicellular algae, possess internal silica skeletons that are laid down due to the silica precipitating activity of specialised proteins called silaffins. These proteins have a highly repeating structure in which the repeated sequences are decorated with additional amine and phosphate groups. Whilst silaffins themselves are potent silica precipitants, synthetic peptides corresponding to these repeats will also act as silicating agents and will allow silica nanoparticles to be generated, provided phosphate is also supplied. Moreover, several polyamines, which can be viewed as peptide mimetics also act as silica precipitants. The biotechnological facility of these observations is that the biosilicates can entrap and immobilise a wide range of enzymes with dramatically higher efficiency than conventional immobilisation procedures, and that biosilica entrapment also serves to stabilise and protect the entrapped enzymes.

The parameters that influence the ability of biosilicating peptides and peptide mimics to entrap enzymes, the tethering of nanostructured biosilica layers and nanoparticles, and the use of these tethered silicates for improved biosensors and biocatalysis involving single enzymes and multi-enzyme cascades will be investigated. The SANTS project will employ a wide range of cutting edge biochemical, electrochemical, molecular biology and biophysical approaches, provided by a world class interdisciplinary research team who are experts in biosensor and biocatalysis research.

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