Learn How Bionanotechnology Is Helping To Improve Our World Today

Bionanotechnology is a science that sits at the convergence of nanotechnology and biology. Nanobiotechnology and Nanobiology are two other names used interchangeably to refer to bionanotechnology. This field uses nanotechnology tools in solving biological problems and creates specialized applications.

Nanobiotechnology refers to the use of nanotechnologies within biological fields. Biologists, physicists, and chemists see nanotechnology as an extension of their respective fields in each of the three major disciplines. As a result, collaborations that each contributes equally to nanotechnology are common.

One example is the hybrid field of nanobiotechnology, which uses biological design principles and biological starting materials. Nanotechnology and biotechnology are both involved in the metabolic and other physiological processes in biological subjects, including microorganisms. However, they can also play an essential role in developing and implementing many valuable tools for studying life.

While the integration of nanomaterials and biology has resulted in developing diagnostic tools, contrast agents, analytical instruments, therapy, and drug delivery vehicles, bionanotechnology research remains in its infancy.

Nanotechnology refers to manipulating materials at the nanometer (nm), micrometer (um), and sub-micrometer (um) scales. For comparison, living cells are usually 10 um in size. This places machinery and other living cell components in the nanoscale range, making them suitable for interactions with functional nanoparticles or nanomachines.

Many nanoscale materials possess unique properties that are not found in bulk materials. These enhanced properties include increased surface area, ion Adsorption, cation Exchange Capacity, and Complexation. Nanoparticles contain a high percentage of their atoms on the surface. This means that they have different surface compositions and reactivity than macro-scale materials.

Using bionanotechnology


Biotechnology is a field that focuses on fundamental research into disease mechanisms and the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic devices. Bionanotechnology is the application of biotechnology to microfluidic devices that can be used for high-throughput drug discovery assays and nanotechnology-based drug delivery systems. It also includes genome sequencing, proteomics, imaging, and genome sequencing.

One example is drug delivery using nanoparticles. The nanoparticle is chemically coated with a therapeutic. The nanoparticle is then guided to its intended target by radio or magnetic signals. Targeted drug delivery increases efficacy and minimizes side effects from off-target activity.

Bionanotechnology is also actively researching gene delivery. For gene therapy, nanoparticle-based vectors that are non-viral and length 50-500 nm have been tested.


For the pharmaceutical industry, nanotechnology is being used to improve drugs’ pharmacokinetics and biopharmaceutical characteristics. For example, nanomaterials can modify the properties of drugs or other components in drug formulations and overcome problems in absorption or how the drug functions in the body.

Medical Applications of Nanobiotechnology

Clinical medicine and diagnostics can benefit from nanotechnology. For example, nanotechnology-based diagnostic tools can accurately detect disease markers in the blood.

Nanorobotics, a new field where machines are made from nanoscale components, is currently being developed. Nanorobots are used in nanomedicine to perform some exciting operations. Harvard and MIT scientists linked RNA strands to nanoparticles containing a chemotherapy drug to create a nanomachine capable of killing cancer cells. Another example is the use of nanorobots to repair tissue with white blood cells.

The use of nanotechnology in medicine covers a broad range of areas, including disease diagnosis, targeted drug delivery, and molecular imaging. The medical sector will see major changes thanks to nanoelectronics, which exploits the traditional strengths of the semiconductor industry – integration and miniaturization.

Conventional electronics are already used in biomedicine for medical monitoring, biophysical studies, and stimulation of excitable tissue, brain stimulation, pacemakers, and limb stimulation. However, the advent of nanomaterials and their applications will give rise to implantable electronics in the body.

A nano bioelectronic system is being developed that triggers enzyme activity. In a similar vein, smart nanomembranes can also be used to release the drug from them.

Brain research is a hot area for nanotechnology. One example is using a carbon-nanotube rope to stimulate neural stem cells with electricity; the repair of the brain using nanotechnology and other advancements in nanomaterial-neural interfaces to generate signal generation.

credit:DexMat, Inc.

Diagnostics and Sensors

Molecular sensing and molecular electronics are diverse areas that include molecular conformational modifications, charge distribution changes, and optical absorption and emission changes. All these changes can be made in response to an input. These approaches can be combined into a transduction system to provide a desired and measurable change in response to a certain range of inputs.

Biocompatibility with other systems is possible by integrating such transduction mechanisms and biomolecules. Plasmonic biosensors could be a major asset in personalized medicine, helping to identify diseases early.

Another work shows that nano biosensors, developed initially to detect herbicides, can help diagnose multiple sclerosis. A new smartphone-based nano biosensor is promising for the early detection of tuberculosis. Bionanotechnology is a very exciting field. Quantum dots, noble metal nanoclusters, and other areas are constantly evolving.

Integration of DNA and Other Nucleic Acids with Nanoparticles

Functionally integrating DNA with other nucleic acid has resulted in a wide range of composite nanomaterials that, in many cases, display unique or enhanced properties due to the combined activity of both components. Researchers have created a DNA impedance biosensor to detect early signs of cancer and the flu virus.

These capabilities are drawing more attention from different research communities looking for new nanoscale tools to aid in diverse applications.

Bionanotechnology’s Role in Agriculture and Food Sector

Nanotechnology is being developed in agriculture to overcome the limitations of conventional farming. Nanotechnologies, for example, have the potential to increase soil nutrients used by plants.

For crop growth, nanofabricated materials that contain plant nutrients in aqueous suspension or hydrogels are being investigated. Zerovalent iron nanoparticles or iron rust nanoparticles could remediate soils contaminated with pesticides, heavy metals, and radionuclides.

The use of nanotechnology for gene modification is possible by delivering genes and drugs to plants at the cellular level. In addition, nanotechnology has been applied to food and agriculture. These include pesticide delivery systems via bioactive nanoencapsulation, organic compounds, and other chemicals—high-performance sensors (electronic tongue or nose) and edible thin films for fruit preservation.

Nanobiosensors can be used in this area to detect pathogens in food or to create nanocomposites that improve food production. They increase mechanical and thermal resistance and decrease oxygen transfer in packaged foods.

Researchers in developing and developed countries are also developing crops that can grow in ‘hostile’ environments, such as soils with high salt levels (often due to climate change or rising sea levels) and low water levels. This is done by manipulating the crop’s genetic material and working with biological molecules on a nanotechnology level.

Bionanotechnology In The Future

What are the unknowns? And what are other questions being asked? What about the unknowns? Are the hypes about nanotechnology too high? Is it possible to fulfill its promises without compromising security and social norms? Are its supporters realistic in their claims of what nanotechnology can accomplish? Or is it a runaway technology destined to wreak havoc with human health and the natural environment?

Involved Debate is the Way Ahead for Nanotechnology

To assess the role of nanotechnology in society and guide its development, scientists, governments, civil societies organizations, and the general public will need to engage cross-sectorally. Informed debate is crucial to avoid the polarization of opinions illustrated by genetic modification.

The future of nanotechnology has both bright and dark sides. Technological advancements, increased government support, and growing demand are all expected to drive global growth in the sector.

However, nanotechnology’s environmental, health, and safety risks and concerns related to its commercialization could hamper market expansion.

In 2024, the US, Brazil, and Germany will be the leaders in nanotechnology. They also have a significant presence in the Top 15 Asian countries like Japan, South Korea, and India. In a ranking that will continue electronics and energy, the cosmetics sector will rise to third place from biomedical.

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