Catalytically active nanomaterials: A promising candidate for artificial enzymes

  • Abubakar Sadiq Tanko Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Biotechnology and Science Biomolecule, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Malaysia
  • Adam Jibrin Alhassan Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria .


Enzymes are highly efficient biomolecules that speed up biochemical reactions. They usually exhibit high specificity to their distinctive substrates with enzymatic activities normally taking place in mild conditions [1]. Enzymes provide significant number of assistance from mediating cellular metabolisms to the utilization in industrial processes such as pharmaceutical, food and agrochemical industries. However, ‘natural limitations’ hinder the usage of enzymes to its maximum trajectory e.g. harsh environmental condition that affects catalytic capability (i.e. by protein denaturation or enzyme being digested). In addition, there are many difficulties that affect enzyme recovery and industrial operation often requires exorbitant cost of preparation for purification [1]. While the advancement in biotechnology leads to the exploration of biomolecules with enzymatic properties including cyclodextrins, metal complexes, porphyrins, polymers, and dendrimers, nanobiotechnology explores nanomaterials. There are varieties of nanomaterials that have been extensively explored to mimic the structures and functions of naturally occurring enzymes, namely; gold nanoparticles, platinum nanomaterials, nanoceria, iron and copper oxides, manganese dioxide and others. These nanomaterials (with artificial enzyme mimicking activities) were successfully utilized in immunoassays, cancer diagnostics and therapies, neuroprotection, stem cell growth, pollutant removal and biosensing applications [1].