Spongin as a Unique 3D Template for the Development of Functional Iron-Based Composites Using Biomimetic Approach In Vitro
Marine sponges of the subclass Keratosa originated on our planet about 900 million years ago and represent evolutionarily ancient and hierarchically structured biological materials. One of them, proteinaceous spongin, is responsible for the formation of 3D structured fibrous skeletons and remains enigmatic with complex chemistry. The objective of this study was to investigate the interaction of spongin with iron ions in a marine environment due to biocorrosion, leading to the occurrence of lepidocrocite. For this purpose, a biomimetic approach for the development of a new lepidocrocite-containing 3D spongin scaffold under laboratory conditions at 24 °C using artificial seawater and iron is described for the first time. This method helps to obtain a new composite as “Iron-Spongin”, which was characterized by infrared spectroscopy and thermogravimetry. Furthermore, sophisticated techniques such as X-ray fluorescence, microscope technique, and X-Ray diffraction were used to determine the structure. This research proposed a corresponding mechanism of lepidocrocite formation, which may be connected with the spongin amino acids functional groups. Moreover, the potential application of the biocomposite as an electrochemical dopamine sensor is proposed. The conducted research not only shows the mechanism or sensor properties of “Iron-spongin” but also opens the door to other applications of these multifunctional materials.