Catalytic and Electron Conducting Carbon Nanotube–Reinforced Lysozyme Crystals

Rafael Contreras-Montoya, Guillermo Escolano, Subhasish Roy, Modesto T. Lopez-Lopez, Jose M. Delgado-López, Juan M. Cuerva, Juan J. Díaz-Mochón, Nurit Ashkenasy, José A. Gavira, Luis Álvarez de Cienfuegos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Novel reinforced cross-linked lysozyme crystals containing homogeneous dispersions of single-walled carbon nanotubes bundles (SWCNTs) are produced and characterized. The incorporation of SWCNTs inside lysozyme crystals gives rise to reinforced composite materials with tunable mechanical strength and electronic conductivity, while preserving the crystal quality and morphology. These reinforced crystals show increased catalytic activity at higher temperatures, being active even above the denaturation temperature. The electron transport through the crystals is linked to the content and distribution of SWCNT bundles inside the crystals. The electron conduction through the crystals is isotropic and very efficient, presenting high conductivity values up to 600 nS at very low (0.05 wt%) SWCNT concentration. To obtain these crystals, a new protocol based on the in situ crystallization of lysozyme in composite SWCNT–peptide hydrogels is developed. These peptide hydrogels are able to homogeneously disperse bundles of hydrophobic SWCNTs allowing first, the crystallization of the enzyme lysozyme and second, transferring the new properties of the inorganic component to the crystals. Taken together, these composite crystals represent an example of the versatility of proteins as biological substrates in the generation of novel functional materials, opening the door to use them in catalysis and bioelectronics at macroscale.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1807351
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • biomaterials
  • carbon nanotubes
  • composite materials
  • protein crystals
  • supramolecular hydrogels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (all)
  • Materials Science (all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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