Hydrophobicity-responsive engineered mesoporous silica nanoparticles: application in the delivery of essential nutrients to bacteria combating oil spills
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Facile chemical modification of mesoporous silica particles allows the production of gated reservoir systems capable of hydrophobicity-triggered release. Applied to the delivery of nutrients specifically to an oil phase, the systems developed have been shown to reliably assist the bacterial degradation of hydrocarbons. The gated system developed, made of C18 hydrocarbon chains, is demonstrated to be in a closed collapsed state in an aqueous environment, yet opens up through solvation by lipophilic alkanes and releases its content on contact with the oil phase.