Journal articles, book contributions, reviews

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Köhler, Michael;
Challenges for nanotechnology. - In: Encyclopedia, ISSN 2673-8392, Bd. 1 (2021), 3, S. 618-631

The term "Nanotechnology" describes a large field of scientific and technical activities dealing with objects and technical components with small dimensions. Typically, bodies that are in-at least-two dimensions smaller than 0.1 [my]m are regarded as "nanobjects". By this definition, a lot of advanced materials, as well as the advanced electronic devices, are objects of nanotechnology. In addition, many aspects of molecular biotechnology as well as macromolecular and supermolecular chemistry and nanoparticle techniques are summarized under "nanotechnology". Despite this size-oriented definition, nanotechnology is dealing with physics and chemistry as well as with the realization of technical functions in the area between very small bodies and single particles and molecules. This includes the shift from classical physics into the quantum world of small molecules and low numbers or single elementary particles. Besides the already established fields of nanotechnology, there is a big expectation about technical progress and solution to essential economic, medical, and ecological problems by means of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology can only meet these expectations if fundamental progress behind the recent state of the art can be achieved. Therefore, very important challenges for nanotechnology are discussed here.
Cao-Riehmer, Jialan; Chande, Charmi; Kalensee, Franziska; Schüler, Tim; Köhler, Michael;
Microfluidically supported characterization of responses of Rhodococcus erythropolis strains isolated from different soils on Cu-, Ni-, and Co-stress. - In: Brazilian journal of microbiology, ISSN 1678-4405, Bd. 52 (2021), 3, S. 1405-1415

We present a new methodological approach for the assessment of the susceptibility of Rhodococcus erythropolis strains from specific sampling sites in response to increasing heavy metal concentration (Cu2+, Ni2+, and Co2+) using the droplet-based microfluid technique. All isolates belong to the species R. erythropolis identified by Sanger sequencing of the 16S rRNA. The tiny step-wise variation of metal concentrations from zero to the lower mM range in 500 nL droplets not only provided accurate data for critical metal ion concentrations but also resulted in a detailed visualization of the concentration-dependent response of bacterial growth and autofluorescence activity. As a result, some of the isolates showed similar characteristics in heavy metal tolerance against Cu2+, Ni2+, and Co2+. However, significantly different heavy metal tolerances were found for other strains. Surprisingly, samples from the surface soil of ancient copper mining areas supplied mostly strains with a moderate sensitivity to Cu2+, Ni2+, and Co2+, but in contrast, a soil sample from an excavation site of a medieval city that had been covered for about eight centuries showed an extremely high tolerance against cobalt ion (up to 36 mM). The differences among the strains not only may be regarded as results of adaptation to the different environmental conditions faced by the strains in nature but also seem to be related to ancient human activities and temporal partial decoupling of soil elements from the surface. This investigation confirmed that microfluidic screening offers empirical characterization of properties from same species which has been isolated from sites known to have different human activities in the past.
Kluitmann, Jonas; Zheng, Xuejiao; Köhler, Michael;
Tuning the morphology of bimetallic gold-platinum nanorods in a microflow synthesis. - In: Colloids and surfaces, Bd. 626 (2021), 127085

An automated microfluidic system with computer-controlled syringe pumps was applied for screening a three-dimensional concentration space for the formation of binary gold-platinum metal nanorods. Leveraging the micro segmented flow technique, precise residence and reactant addition timings as well as concentration spaces were addressed. The density and thickness of quasi-isotropic platinum shells on gold nanorod cores were tuned from isolated spots to a dense arrangement of high-aspect-ratio columns. The changing optical properties of the particles in the platinum deposition were used for monitoring the reaction progress and the products by the means of a fiber based micro flow-through spectrophotometer allowing to optimize process times. From our data, we propose an electrochemical model, postulating a diode-like effect and limitations for the formation of Pt nuclei on the gold surface and the formation of nano local elements. This point of view is supported by the observed decoration effects of gold facets and to the formation of columnar structures of the platinum shell.
Visaveliya, Nikunjkumar R.; Köhler, Michael;
Softness meets with brightness: dye-doped multifunctional fluorescent polymer particles via microfluidics for labeling. - In: Advanced optical materials, ISSN 2195-1071, Bd. 9 (2021), 13, 2002219, insges. 22 S.

Fluorogenic labeling strategies have emerged as powerful tools for in vivo and in vitro imaging applications for diagnostic and theranostic purposes. Free organic chromophores (fluorescent dyes) are bright but rapidly degrade. Inorganic nanoparticles (e.g., quantum dots) are photostable but toxic to biological systems. Alternatively, dye-doped polymer particles are promising for labeling and imaging due to their properties that overcome limitations of photodegradation and toxicity. This progress report, therefore, presents various synthesis techniques for the generation of dye-doped fluorescent polymer particles. Polymer particles are relatively soft compared to inorganic nanoparticles and can be synthesized with characteristics like biocompatibility and stimuli responsiveness. Also, their ability of loading fluorophores through various interactions reveals brightness. Here, a multiscale-multicolor library of bright and soft fluorescent polymer particles is generated hierarchically. Various microfluidic supported strategies have been applied where fluorophores can be linked to polymeric networks noncovalently and covalently in the interior, and at the surface of nanoparticles (60-550 nm). Besides, microfluidic strategies for hydrophilic and hydrophobic fluorescent polymer microparticles (20-800 [my]m) have been performed for systematic tuning in size and color combination. Furthermore, soft and bright particulate assemblies are enabled through interfacial interactions at the intermediate scale (600 nm-3 [my]m) between the nanometer and micrometer lengthscale.
Köhler, Michael; Beetz, Nancy; Günther, Mike; Möller, Frances; Cao-Riehmer, Jialan;
Extremophiles in soil communities of former copper mining sites of the East Harz region (Germany) reflected by re-analyzed 16S rRNA data. - In: Microorganisms, ISSN 2076-2607, Bd. 9 (2021), 7, 1422, insges. 16 S.

The east and southeast rim of Harz mountains (Germany) are marked by a high density of former copper mining places dating back from the late 20th century to the middle age. A set of 18 soil samples from pre- and early industrial mining places and one sample from an industrial mine dump have been selected for investigation by 16S rRNA and compared with six samples from non-mining areas. Although most of the soil samples from the old mines show pH values around 7, RNA profiling reflects many operational taxonomical units (OTUs) belonging to acidophilic genera. For some of these OTUs, similarities were found with their abundances in the comparative samples, while others show significant differences. In addition to pH-dependent bacteria, thermophilic, psychrophilic, and halophilic types were observed. Among these OTUs, several DNA sequences are related to bacteria which are reported to show the ability to metabolize special substrates. Some OTUs absent in comparative samples from limestone substrates, among them Thaumarchaeota were present in the soil group from ancient mines with pH > 7. In contrast, acidophilic types have been found in a sample from a copper slag deposit, e.g., the polymer degrading bacterium Granulicella and Acidicaldus, which is thermophilic, too. Soil samples of the group of pre-industrial mines supplied some less abundant, interesting OTUs as the polymer-degrading Povalibacter and the halophilic Lewinella and Halobacteriovorax. A particularly high number of bacteria (OTUs) which had not been detected in other samples were found at an industrial copper mine dump, among them many halophilic and psychrophilic types. In summary, the results show that soil samples from the ancient copper mining places contain soil bacterial communities that could be a promising source in the search for microorganisms with valuable metabolic capabilities.
Knauer, Andrea; Kuhfuss, Danja; Köhler, Michael;
Electrostatic control of Au nanorod formation in automated microsegmented flow synthesis. - In: ACS applied nano materials, ISSN 2574-0970, Bd. 4 (2021), 2, S. 1411-1419

An automated flow rate program was applied for the synthesis of gold nanorods of different aspect ratios dependent on a two-dimensional concentration space of reducing agent and additional silver ions. It was found a regular redshift of the spectral position of the electromagnetic in-axis resonance of metal nanorods with decreasing concentration of reducing agent and increasing concentration of silver ions. The increase of resonance wavelength is strongly correlated with the aspect ratio of the formed nanorods. The experimental results agree with an electrostatic model of self-polarization due to positive excess charge of the nanorods in the presence of CTAB and confirm the crucial role of electrostatic control in the formation of nonspherical and composed nanoparticles in general.
Schumann, Peter; Kalensee, Franziska; Cao-Riehmer, Jialan; Criscuolo, Alexis; Clermont, Dominique; Köhler, Michael; Meier-Kolthoff, Jan Philipp; Neumann-Schaal, Meina; Tindall, Brian J.; Pukall, Rüdiger;
Reclassification of Haloactinobacterium glacieicola as Occultella glacieicola gen. nov., comb. nov., of Haloactinobacterium album as Ruania alba comb. nov, with an emended description of the genus Ruania, recognition that the genus names Haloactinobacterium and Ruania are heterotypic synonyms and description of Occultella aeris sp. nov., a halotolerant isolate from surface soil sampled at an ancient copper smelter. - In: International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology, ISSN 1466-5034, Bd. 71 (2021), 4, 004769

In the course of screening the surface soils of ancient copper mines and smelters (East Harz, Germany) an aerobic, non-motile and halotolerant actinobacterium forming small rods or cocci was isolated. The strain designated F300T developed creamy to yellow colonies on tryptone soy agar and grew optimally at 28 ˚C, pH 7-8 and with 0.5-2% (m/v) NaCl. Its peptidoglycan was of type A4α l-Lys-l-Glu (A11.54). The menaquinone profile was dominated by MK-8(II, III-H4) and contained minor amounts of MK-8(H2), MK-8(H6) and MK-9(H4). The polar lipids comprised diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylinositol, mono and diacylated phosphatidylinositol dimannosides, and components that were not fully characterized, including two phospholipids, two glycolipids and an uncharacterized lipid. Major whole-cell sugars were rhamnose and ribose. The fatty acid profile contained mainly iso and anteiso branched fatty acids (anteiso-C15:0, iso-C14:0) and aldehydes/dimethylacetals (i.e. not fatty acids). Sequence analysis of its genomic DNA and subsequent analysis of the data placed the isolate in the group currently defined by members of the genera Ruania and Haloactinobacterium (family Ruaniaceae , order Micrococcales ) as a sister taxon to the previously described species Haloactinobacterium glacieicola , sharing an average nucleotide identity and average amino acid identity values of 85.3 and 85.7%, respectively. Genotypic and chemotaxonomic analyses support the view that strain F300T (=DSM 108350T=CIP 111667T) is the type strain of a new genus and new species for which the name Occultella aeris gen. nov., sp. nov. is proposed. Based on revised chemotaxonomic and additional genome based data, it is necessary to discuss and evaluate the results in the light of the classification and nomenclature of members of the family Ruaniaceae , i.e. the genera Haloactinobacterium and Ruania . Consequently, the reclassification of Haloactinobacterium glacieicola as Occultella glacieicola comb. nov. and Haloactinobacterium album as Ruania alba comb. nov., with an emended description of the genus Ruania are proposed.,
Visaveliya, Nikunjkumar R.; Köhler, Michael;
Hierarchical assemblies of polymer particles through tailored interfaces and controllable interfacial interactions. - In: Advanced functional materials, ISSN 1616-3028, Bd. 31 (2021), 9, 2007407, insges. 22 S.

Hierarchical assembly architectures of functional polymer particles are promising because of their physicochemical and surface properties for multi-labeling and sensing to catalysis and biomedical applications. While polymer nanoparticles' interior is mainly made up of the cross-linked network, their surface can be tailored with soft, flexible, and responsive molecules and macromolecules as potential support for the controlled particulate assemblies. Molecular surfactants and polyelectrolytes as interfacial agents improve the stability of the nanoparticles whereas swellable and soft shell-like cross-linked polymeric layer at the interface can significantly enhance the uptake of guest nano-constituents during assemblies. Besides, layer-by-layer surface-functionalization holds the ability to provide a high variability in assembly architectures of different interfacial properties. Considering these aspects, various assembly architectures of polymer nanoparticles of tunable size, shapes, morphology, and tailored interfaces together with controllable interfacial interactions are constructed here. The microfluidic-mediated platform has been used for the synthesis of constituents polymer nanoparticles of various structural and interfacial properties, and their assemblies are conducted in batch or flow conditions. The assemblies presented in this progress report is divided into three main categories: cross-linked polymeric network's fusion-based self-assembly, electrostatic-driven assemblies, and assembly formed by encapsulating smaller nanoparticles into larger microparticles.
Köhler, Michael; Kluitmann, Jonas;
In situ assembly of gold nanoparticles in the presence of poly-DADMAC resulting in hierarchical and highly fractal nanostructures. - In: Applied Sciences, ISSN 2076-3417, Bd. 11 (2021), 3, 1191, insges. 13 S.

The presence of the polycationic macromolecule poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride) (poly-DADMAC) has a strong effect on the shape and size of colloidal gold nanoparticles formed by the reduction of tetrachloroauric acid with ascorbic acid in aqueous solution. It slows down nanoparticle growth and supports the formation of nonspherical, partially highly fractal and hierarchical nanoparticle shapes. Four structural levels have been recognized from the near-spherical gold nanoparticles in the lower nanometer range over compact aggregates in the midnanometer range and flower and star-like particles in the submicron range up to larger filamentous aggregates. High-contrast scanning electron microscope (SEM) images show that single gold nanoparticles and clusters of them are connected by bundles of macromolecules in large aggregates. The investigation showed that a large spectrum of different nanoparticle shapes and sizes can be accessed by tuning the poly-DADMAC concentrations and their ratio to other reactants. The nanoassemblies with a very high specific surface area might be of interest for SERS and heterogeneous catalysis.
Mazétyté-Stasinskiené, Raminta; Köhler, Michael;
Sensor micro and nanoparticles for microfluidic application. - In: Applied Sciences, ISSN 2076-3417, Bd. 10 (2020), 23, 8353, insges. 37 S.

Micro and nanoparticles are not only understood as components of materials but as small functional units too. Particles can be designed for the primary transduction of physical and chemical signals and, therefore, become a valuable component in sensing systems. Due to their small size, they are particularly interesting for sensing in microfluidic systems, in microarray arrangements and in miniaturized biotechnological systems and microreactors, in general. Here, an overview of the recent development in the preparation of micro and nanoparticles for sensing purposes in microfluidics and application of particles in various microfluidic devices is presented. The concept of sensor particles is particularly useful for combining a direct contact between cells, biomolecules and media with a contactless optical readout. In addition to the construction and synthesis of micro and nanoparticles with transducer functions, examples of chemical and biological applications are reported.