As an outcome of millions of years of evolution, biological systems have developed different methods to interact with their surroundings. Many of these adaptations, such as secretions, light-interacting surfaces, biochemical active compounds, and many other survival strategies, are phenomena occurring at the nanometric scale. In this review, we describe how extracellular nanometric structures are responsible for manipulating energy and matter, creating some of the emergent properties of life. Iridescent colors in birds' feathers, the manipulation of wettability of insects' exoskeletons, the adhesive properties of nanopatterned secretions and the ability to polarize light are examples of the potential of extracellular nanostructures. We defined the study of extracellular nanostructures as "nanobiodiversity," a unifying concept that emphasizes the inspiration that life at the nanoscale offers, not only for designing new materials, but also for its understanding.
- Evolutionary biology and bio-nanotechnology
- Extracellular structures
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science (miscellaneous)
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)