Dinoflagellates produce two interesting porous materials in two different life stages: The thecal plates of their vegetative life stage are made up of cellulose and surround the cell like a porous cage (Figure 1). In the resting stage (and some vegetative cells) the cells are surrounded by a highly porous calcite mineral. Both materials are highly porous materials with a great potential for a variety of materials applications like catalysis, drug-delivery or as microcapsules.
We are currently working on dinoflagellate-based materials by transforming these into functional microcapsules and perowskites.
Calcitic shell (left) and cellulose thecal plates (right).