Polydopamine coating of living diatom microalgae

Photochem Photobiol Sci. 2022 Jun;21(6):949-958. doi: 10.1007/s43630-022-00185-4. Epub 2022 Feb 14.


Many microorganisms produce specific structures, known as spores or cysts, to increase their resistance to adverse environmental conditions. Scientists have started to produce biomimetic materials inspired by these natural membranes, especially for industrial and biomedical applications. Here, we present biological data on the biocompatibility of a polydopamine-based artificial coating for diatom cells. In this work, living Thalassiosira weissflogii diatom cells are coated on their surface with a polydopamine layer mimicking mussel adhesive protein. Polydopamine does not affect diatoms growth kinetics, it enhances their resistance to degradation by treatment with detergents and acids, and it decreases the uptake of model staining emitters. These outcomes pave the way for the use of living diatom cells bearing polymer coatings for sensors based on living cells, resistant to artificial microenvironments, or acting as living devices for cells interface study.

Keywords: Artificial coating; Biopolymers; Chloroplasts; Diatoms; Polydopamine.

MeSH terms

  • Diatoms* / metabolism
  • Indoles / chemistry
  • Indoles / pharmacology
  • Microalgae*
  • Polymers / chemistry


  • Indoles
  • Polymers
  • polydopamine