Micelles

Micelles are a very beautiful result of some relatively simple chemistry in biological systems. Micelles are made out of amphiphatic lipids, that is to say, a lipid (biological molecule) that possesses both hydrophobic - water fearing, and hydrophilic - water loving areas. In possessing both of these qualities, a hydrophilic head and a hydrophobic tail, when a critical amount of these molecules are added to to water, they will form micelles.

If less than the critical amount of the lipids are added, then one will find a higher concentration of single units of lipids, but at the critical amount or over, one will find a very low concentration of single units.

Micelles find their biological use in the cells of living things. In humans in particular they are essential in aiding in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and other complex molecules.

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Your cells, Micelles, Our Bioelectric Cells.

Skip to the ****’s if you already know what micelles are and want to get to the cool part.

A Primer:

Micelles are what allow soap to lift off grease - those white orbs are attracted to water (hydrophic), but their tails are repelled by it (hydrophobic). This happens when lipids encounter fluid - the polar heads face towards the aqueous (polar) surrounding, and the hydrophobic tails naturally avoid the water. What kind of ‘structure’ the clustering of lipids make in reaction to water depends on the lipid’s concentration. The result of their clustering together is the formation of vesicles in the center - that bubble of space in the center, which you might remember for learning cells in biology class - they not only affect the structure’s bouyancy and movement, but also their metabolism because the lipid bilayer that surrounds them enacts a kind of intelligent osmosis; absorbing what’s needing and holding in or rejecting ions/proteins/molecules as required. 

As a result, vesicles are used both naturally and in medicine to transport things like proteins or drugs to various cells in the body. 

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The above is a molecular dynamics simulation of a graphene sheets hosted within a vesicle. The research, conducted at the University of Illinois and published at the end of 2009, concluded following simulations that graphene can be integrated into micelles to form a ‘hybrid graphene-membrane superstructure’, allowing electrical and digital structures to move through biological systems within a waterproof structure accepted as natural by the organism. 

Other crazy research with micelles was conducted in Germany, suggesting that micelles could contain protocells - non-living organisms capable of metabolizing and often producing materials (There’s some really interesting architectural research on this figureheaded by Rachel Armstrong.) The study supposes that

"the information stored in the PNA influences the functioning of the metabolism, turning the template intoan actual genome. The protocell grows with the incorporated nutrients. With the reach of a critical size, the container becomes unstable and divides into two daughter cells. Supposed that nutrients are provided in the right stoichiometric ratio, the two daughter cells will be replicates of the original organism[…allowing it to] build vitro as a minimal molecular machine, able to undergo self replication and finally, evolution.”

 !

In short, we’re reaching a level of blending between digitizable materials (ie graphene) and biological materials that, may I say, is fairly cyborgy. But it’s also part of a fairly nearby future in which nanomedicine becomes a more everyday part of care, cities and their structures intelligently process energy without waste, everybody owns a Roomba…

So what I’m saying is, how about we take some micelles, fill em up with graphene and protocells, instate programs in the graphene which trigger an intelligence to the protocells, who then absorb CO2 and transform it into a limestone like structure, underwater, get ourselves an underwater city in like two days or so? 

—Subject to continuous editing as I figure out what the hell is going on in the world. (Rachel Armstrong has been contacted).—

Sad ne smem da mislim o tome, jer ću inače početi da vrištim pred svim ovim svetom. Ne mogu sad da mislim. Misliću kasnije kad budem u stanju da izdržim - kad ne budem videla njegove oči.
—  Prohujalo sa vihorom; Margaret Mičel
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one direction dancing ‘Ai Se Eu Te Pego’

DYING

Sorry I haven’t been updating more often! I have been fairly busy learning a ton of new things to share with all of you. 

Well here is a beautiful picture of what a micelle would look like. A Micelle is one of the very first ideas that people have had for a drug delivery system. The thing that makes it so perfect is the combination of its self forming properties due to hydrophobic effects and its ability to get through the lipid bilayer. By doing this, we can delivery drugs with poor solubility. 

That’s a short blurb about micelles, but this is just the beginning! I have so much more to share with you all both about drug delivery and just my experiences. 

Close

B is for Busby Berkeley and By a Waterfall from Footlight Parade

This is a mere fraction of the full piece.

A DIALOGUE WITH SARAH, AGED 3: IN WHICH IT IS SHOWN THAT IF YOUR DAD IS A CHEMISTRY PROFESSOR, ASKING “WHY” CAN BE DANGEROUS By Stephen McNeil
  • SARAH:Daddy, were you in the shower?
  • DAD:Yes, I was in the shower.
  • SARAH:Why?
  • DAD:I was dirty. The shower gets me clean.
  • SARAH:Why?
  • DAD:Why does the shower get me clean?
  • SARAH:Yes.
  • DAD:Because the water washes the dirt away when I use soap.
  • SARAH:Why?
  • DAD:Why do I use soap?
  • SARAH:Yes.
  • DAD:Because the soap grabs the dirt and lets the water wash it off.
  • SARAH:Why?
  • DAD:Why does the soap grab the dirt?
  • SARAH:Yes.
  • DAD:Because soap is a surfactant.
  • SARAH:Why?
  • DAD:Why is soap a surfactant?
  • SARAH:Yes.
  • DAD:That is an EXCELLENT question. Soap is a surfactant because it forms water-soluble micelles that trap the otherwise insoluble dirt and oil particles.
  • SARAH:Why?
  • DAD:Why does soap form micelles?
  • SARAH:Yes.
  • DAD:Soap molecules are long chains with a polar, hydrophilic head and a non-polar, hydrophobic tail. Can you say ‘hydrophilic’?
  • SARAH:Aidrofawwic
  • DAD:And can you say ‘hydrophobic’?
  • SARAH:Aidrofawwic
  • DAD:Excellent! The word ‘hydrophobic’ means that it avoids water.
  • SARAH:Why?
  • DAD:Why does it mean that?
  • SARAH:Yes.
  • DAD:It’s Greek! ‘Hydro’ means water and ‘phobic’ means ‘fear of’. ‘Phobos’ is fear. So ‘hydrophobic’ means ‘afraid of water’.
  • SARAH:Like a monster?
  • DAD:You mean, like being afraid of a monster?
  • SARAH:Yes.
  • DAD:A scary monster, sure. If you were afraid of a monster, a Greek person would say you were gorgophobic.
  • (pause)
  • SARAH:(rolls her eyes) I thought we were talking about soap.
  • DAD:We are talking about soap.
  • (longish pause)
  • SARAH:Why?
  • DAD:Why do the molecules have a hydrophilic head and a hydrophobic tail?
  • SARAH:Yes.
  • DAD:Because the C-O bonds in the head are highly polar, and the C-H bonds in the tail are effectively non-polar.
  • SARAH:Why?
  • DAD:Because while carbon and hydrogen have almost the same electronegativity, oxygen is far more electronegative, thereby polarizing the C-O bonds.
  • SARAH:Why?
  • DAD:Why is oxygen more electronegative than carbon and hydrogen?
  • SARAH:Yes.
  • DAD:That’s complicated. There are different answers to that question, depending on whether you’re talking about the Pauling or Mulliken electronegativity scales. The Pauling scale is based on homo- versus heteronuclear bond strength differences, while the Mulliken scale is based on the atomic properties of electron affinity and ionization energy. But it really all comes down to effective nuclear charge. The valence electrons in an oxygen atom have a lower energy than those of a carbon atom, and electrons shared between them are held more tightly to the oxygen, because electrons in an oxygen atom experience a greater nuclear charge and therefore a stronger attraction to the atomic nucleus! Cool, huh?
  • (pause)
  • SARAH:I don’t get it.
  • DAD:That’s OK. Neither do most of my students.
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