Sodium Dodecyl Benzene Sulfonate Efficiently Controls Zooplanktonic Predators in Chlorella Mass Culture (Biology)

Chlorella is a genus of unicellular green microalgae that has been considered a candidate for bioenergy and bioremediation owing to its ability to grow fast, uptake nutrients in wastewaters, and synthesize a large amount of triglycerides or carbohydrates in cells.  

However, biological contamination occurs frequently in Chlorella mass culture in the widely used cultivation systems including circular and raceway ponds. Flagellates and ciliates are the most common contaminations threatening Chlorella cultivation. 

In order to improve the efficiency of large-scale cultivation and reduce the losses of biomass, researchers from the Microalgae Biotechnology Research Group of Wuhan Botanical Garden developed a simple and efficient chemical method to control the contamination of predatory flagellates and ciliates in Chlorella mass culture.

Results showed that the widely used household detergent, sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate (SDBS), was able to eliminate the contaminants Poterioochromonas sp. and Hemiurosomoida sp. with a minimal effective concentrations of 8 and 10 mg L-1, respectively, while had little effect on the photosynthesis and viability of Chlorella

Chlorella mass cultures in 5, 20, and 200 m2 raceway ponds further validated the efficiency of SDBS in controls zooplanktonic predators.   

This research proposes a chemical method using 10 mg L-1 SDBS as pesticide to control predatory flagellate or ciliate contamination in Chlorella mass culture and this promising method is cheaper than other methods. Therefore, SDBS may be a broad spectrum of anti-biocontaminations, which can be expected to apply for a sustained microalgae biomass production and utilization, especially for biofuel production. 

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China. The results have been published in Biotechnology for Biofuels entitled “Controlling of two destructive zooplanktonic predators in Chlorella mass culture with surfactants“. 

Featured image: Application of surfactant SDBS for controlling zooplanktonic predators in Chlorella mass culture (Image by WBG)


Reference: Wen, X., Zhang, A., Zhu, X. et al. Controlling of two destructive zooplanktonic predators in Chlorella mass culture with surfactants. Biotechnol Biofuels 14, 21 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13068-021-01873-6


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Researchers Unveil Geological History of Three Great Asian Plateaus (Botany)

The collisions of Indian Subcontinent with Eurasia in the east and Arabian plate with Eurasia in the west are two important tectonic events in Asia, and have greatly changed Asian topography and affected regional and global climate as well as biotic evolution. However, the geological evolution of Asia related to these two collisions remains debated.  

The evolutionary history of organisms with poor dispersal abilities usually parallels geological events. A research group led by Prof. WANG Wei from the Institute of Botany of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IBCAS) used Eranthis, an angiosperm genus with poor dispersal ability and a discontinuous distribution across Eurasia, to shed light on the orogenesis of the Qinghai-Tibetan, Iranian and Mongolian plateaus.  

The researchers found that biogoegraphic patterns of Eranthis might have been shaped mainly by geography. Within Eranthis, four vicariance events well correlated the two early uplifts of the Tibetan plateau during the late Eocene and the Oligocene–Miocene boundary and the two uplifts of the Iranian Plateau during the middle Miocene and the late Miocene. 

Evolution of Eranthis with associated tectonic events (Image by IBCAS)

The origin and divergence of the Mongolian Plateau taxa were related to the two uplifts of the Mongolian Plateau during the middle Miocene and the late Miocene.  

The researchers provided the first case of an organismal group reconciling and illuminating critical aspects of the timing of the growth of all three great Asian Plateaus. They document that the three great Asian Plateaus each experienced multistage uplift processes. After the first uplift (c. 40 Ma), the central part of Tibet only reached an altitude of <2.3 km.  

Moreover, they also found that an uplift in the Iranian Plateau and lateral extrusion of the Anatolian block occurred simultaneously at about 12 Ma. It is the first time using modern phylogenetic and biogeographic methods to examine the lateral extrusion of the Anatolian block.  

Additionally, the findings suggest that the Mongolian plateau might be the consequence of the far-field effect of the India-Eurasia and Arabia-Eurasia collisions.  

“These hypotheses will change considerably our current concepts of the geological evolution of Asia related to the India-Eurasia and Arabia-Eurasia collisions as a whole, and can be used to explain the evolutionary history of other extant lineages that exhibit similar habitat requirements and dispersal abilities with Eranthis in Eurasia”, said Prof. WANG Wei, correspondence author of the study.  

The above study has been published online in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.


Reference: Kun-Li Xiang, Andrey S. Erst, Jian Yang, Huan-Wen Peng, Rosa del C. Ortiz, Florian Jabbour, Tatyana V. Erstand, Wei Wang, “Biogeographic diversification of Eranthis (Ranunculaceae) reflects the geological history of the three great Asian plateaus”, Royal Society Publishing, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2021.0281


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Scientists Program Microalgae’s ‘Oil Factory’ to Produce Various Oils (Biology)

By combining the ‘chassis’ of an oil-producing microalgae with genes from a Cuphea plant, scientists from Single-Cell Center, Qingdao Institute of BioEnergy and Bioprocess Technology (QIBEBT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), can turn the algae into a microbial cell factory that can produce various oils with different properties. 

The study was published in Metabolic Engineering on April 3. 

Oils are composed of fatty acids, and fatty acids are composed in part of chains of carbon atoms. The length of these carbon chains can impact the physical properties of the fatty acid and thus the property of the oil. The researchers now can program the algal ‘factory’ by designing the algae to produce fatty acids of different lengths. 

Oleaginous microalgae are often attractive candidates as “cell factories” due to their rapid reproduction rates and ability to produce large volumes of fatty acids. 

But the chain-length of the fatty acids produced by these self-replicating photosynthetic factories is very rigidly specific to a given species. Typically, one type of microalgae would be great at producing fatty acids of some lengths, but not others. 

In microalgae, fatty acids are synthesized by a particular type of enzyme, called the fatty acid synthase, or FAS. And the chain length of these fatty acids is in turn determined by the action of another type of enzyme, called an Acyl-ACP thioesterase, or simply a TE. Different types of TEs from different species specialize in different chain lengths. 

“This is far from ideal as a product-flexible cell factory to deliver the plethora of chain lengths needed at will for various industrially relevant fatty acids, as you would have to constantly swap out the species that is doing the producing,” said WANG Qintao, a researcher at Single-Cell Center, the first author of the study. 

However, the research team found that the microalgae Nannochloropsis oceanica (N. oceanica) had a TE enzyme pathway that can vary the chain length to produce three variations on some of the longer fatty acids, but can’t vary the chain length to produce multiple mid-length fatty acids. 

So they added the genes for a similar TE enzyme pathway from a Cuphea plant – one that was good at boosting production of fatty acids with those mid-length chains. Protein engineers led by FENG Yanbin and XUE Song, now at Dalian University of Technology, tuned the enzymes so that fatty acids of a different chain length can be produced. The Cuphea genus is home to many species of plants also known for their oil production capabilities. 

But by combining the enzymes, the team showed that it was possible to ratchet the fatty acid chain up and down a broad range of desired lengths, and within the N. oceanica ‘factory’. 

The researchers hope that this basic framework will now accelerate the development of designer oils of various fatty acid chain lengths within other species of Nannochloropsis and other oleaginous microalgae. 

“By directly turning CO2, sunlight and seawater into designer oils, such microalgae cell factories are carbon negative, thus farming them at a large scale can help to save our planet from global warming,” added XU Jian, Director of Single-Cell Center, and one senior author of the study.

Featured image: In the engineered microalgal oil factory, length of fatty acid molecules can be tuned at will, just like the golden cudgel of Monkey King. (Image by LIU Yang and WANG Qintao) 

Reference: Qintao Wang, Yanbin Feng, Yandu Lu, Yi Xin, Chen Shen, Li Wei, Yuxue Liu, Nana Lv, Xuefeng Du, Wenqiang Zhu, Byeong-ryool Jeong, Song Xue, Jian Xu, Manipulating fatty-acid profile at unit chain-length resolution in the model industrial oleaginous microalgae Nannochloropsis, Metabolic Engineering, 2021, , ISSN 1096-7176, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymben.2021.03.015. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1096717621000513)


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Floral Heat Production Plays Important Role in Successful Reproduction of Alocasia odora (Botany / Biology)

Thermogenesis is literally defined as heat production. Floral thermogenesis is a process that reproductive structures of some plants produce heat, which is critical for flower organ development and reproductive success. However, floret (or inflorescence) development, thermogenesis and pollinator activity is rarely studied in association. 

In a recent study published in the journal Flora, researchers from the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) observed the relationship between blooming, floral temperature and insect activity in Alocasia odora, an understory clonal herb known to produce unisexual flowers and hermaphroditic inflorescences. 

The researchers used thermologgers as well as an infra-red camera to demonstrate the spatial pattern of thermogenesis in A. odora inflorescences during different stages. They also examined floral development, patterns of heat production, and insect activity on the inflorescence, and determined the association among these factors. 

Based on morphological changes of the spathe, the researchers divided inflorescence into four stages: spathe closing (stage I), spathe unfolding, female florets receptive (stage II), male florets releasing pollen (stage III), and spathe withering (stage IV). 

They showed that different inflorescences of A. odora had similar but not completely identical thermogenetic duration and heat production intensity. The thermogenic patterns between the male flowers and the appendix differed in terms of the duration and temporal dynamics. 

They observed that fruit flies (Colocasiomyia) mate, feed on the inflorescence, and enter the female zone to lay eggs when the spathe just opened at stage II. The heat production and the spathe provided favorable living and breeding conditions for Colocasiomyia flies, and Colocasiomyia flies effectively pollinated A. odora. Therefore, the interactions between A. odora and Colocasiomyia flies are mutually beneficial.  

“Our results therefore suggest that floral thermogenesis plays an important role in successful reproduction,” said Prof. PENG Yanqiong, principal investigator of the study.

Featured image: Visitors of the spadices of Alocasia odora. (Image by BIAN Fuhua)


Reference: Fuhua Bian, Yan Luo, Lixia Li, Yujuan Pang, Yanqiong Peng, Inflorescence development, thermogenesis and flower-visiting insect activity in Alocasia odora, Flora, 2021, 151818, ISSN 0367-2530, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.flora.2021.151818. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0367253021000578)


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New Pathway to Improve Plant Productivity (Botany)

Researchers from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences engineered a new pathway in chloroplasts to improve plant biomass and productivity.

Plant photosynthesis produces carbohydrates to sustain lives and ecosystems on earth. The major carbohydrate generated in plants is starch, which is a glucose homopolymer deposited in plastids that can be quickly converted into glucose molecules to supply carbon skeletons and energy.

There are two types of phosphoglucose isomerase (PGI) in plants, which catalyzes the interconversion between glucose 6-phosphate (G6P) and fructose 6-phosphate (F6P). One type of enzyme locates to chloroplast involved in starch synthesis, and another type of enzyme locates to cytosol involved in sucrose synthesis and glycolysis.

GAO et al. found that specific activity of recombinantly purified PGI localized in cytosol (PGIc) was much higher than its plastidic isoenzyme counterpart (PGIp). Engineering of PGIc into chloroplasts of a pgip mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana (atpgip) resulted in starch over-accumulation, higher photosynthesis rate, up to 19% more plant biomass and 27% seed yield productivity.

This work showed that manipulating starch metabolic pathways in chloroplasts can improve plant biomass and yield productivity.The strategy used in this research is straight forward and powerful, with easy handling, less work and stable inheritance in progeny plants.

This work reminds us that synthetic biology is one of important ice-breaking tools to improve agricultural yield and crop characteristics after “the green revolution”.

Featured image: Engineering of phosphoglucose isomerase in chloroplasts improves plant photosynthesis and biomass (Image by IGDB)


Reference: Gao, F., Zhang, H., Zhang, W., Wang, N., Zhang, S., Chu, C. and Liu, C. (2021), Engineering of the cytosolic form of phosphoglucose isomerase into chloroplasts improves plant photosynthesis and biomass. New Phytol. Accepted Author Manuscript. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.17368


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Researchers Demonstrate Very High Specificity of Prime Editors in Plants (Botany)

Prime editing (PE), a “search-and-replace” CRISPR-based genome editing technique, has great potential for gene therapy and agriculture. It can introduce desired base conversions, deletions, insertions, and combination edits into target genomic sites. Prime editors have been successfully applied in animals and plants, but their off-target effects, which can be a major hindrance to real-life application, have not been thoroughly evaluated until now.

Prof. GAO Caixia from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology (IGDB) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and her research team recently performed a comprehensive and genome-wide analysis of the off-target effects of PEs in rice plants.

Off-target effects are in principle of two types: guide RNA (gRNA)-dependent and gRNA-independent. The first result from similarities between target and off-target sequences and the second from the activity of CRISPR-based tools, such as deaminase, at non-target positions in the genome.

The researchers first measured editing frequencies using pegRNAs with primer binding sites (PBSs) or spacers containing mismatches of the chosen target sequence, and found that mismatches located in seed sequence regions of the spacer (near the PAM) and near the nicking site of nCas9 (H840A) at the PBS greatly reduced the frequency of PE implying high editing specificity. They also evaluated the frequencies of editing by 12 pegRNAs at 179 endogenous off-target sites containing mismatches, and confirmed that editing rates were extremely low (0.00%~0.23%). Thus, designing pegRNAs with homology to fewer off-target sites is necessary.

The gRNA-independent effects induced by ectopic expression of functional elements in the CRISPR-based tools (which have been detected with some base editors) are not predictable by in silico methods. Gao et al. therefore used whole-genome sequencing to investigate whether ectopic expression of the prime editors induced undesired edits at the genome-wide level. They delivered PE constructs with or without pegRNA expression cassettes into rice calli via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation and obtained regenerated T0 plants (the PE group). They found the number of single nucleotide variants and indels (small insertions/deletions) in the PE group was not significantly higher than in the control group (expressing Cas9 nickase).

Moreover, mutation type analysis and mutation distribution analysis further demonstrated that the PE and control groups did not differ significantly. This result indicated that the PE system did not induce significant numbers of genome-wide pegRNA-independent off-target edits in plants.

Since M-MLV RT is a core element of the PE system, it seemed possible that overexpressing M-MLV RT might interfere with natural reverse transcription mechanisms in the cell. The researchers therefore evaluated the activities of retrotransposons and telomerase by analyzing the number of copies of the OsTos17 retrotransposonand the fidelity of telomeres, and found no effect of M-MLV reverse transcriptase on either parameter.

They also evaluated the possibility that over-expression of RT might increase the risk of random reverse transcription of mRNAs and insertion of the products into the rice genome. Hence, they looked for pegRNA and mRNA insertions but detected no such events, further indicating that the M-MLV reverse transcriptase in PEs does not have nonspecific effects in plant cells. In summary, a systematic assessment demonstrated that prime editors are highly specific in plants.

This work, entitled “Genome-wide specificity of prime editors in plants,” was published in Nature Biotechnologyonline on April 15. This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the National Key Research and Development Program of China, and the Strategic Priority Research Program of CAS.

Featured image: Analysis of the genome-wide specificity of prime editors in plants. a, PE rates at endogenous on-target and off-target sites. b, Experimental design and work flow of whole-genome sequencing. c, d, Numbers of SNVs (c) and Indels (d) identified by WGS in the control, PE and base editor (BE3) groups. e, Genome-wide landscape of the distribution of telomere repeats in the Zhonghua11 genome. f, Comparison of number of reads with more than five TRs per million raw reads in the WT, AGL1, control, PE and BE3 groups. g, Comparison of the percentages of reads in the Cas9 and HPT coding regions versus in the whole T-DNA fragment. (Image by IGDB)


Reference: Jin, S., Lin, Q., Luo, Y. et al. Genome-wide specificity of prime editors in plants. Nat Biotechnol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41587-021-00891-x


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Single-atom Electrocatalyst Synthesized with N-doped Holey Carbon Matrix for Zinc-air Batteries (Chemistry)

In recent years, the exploration and exploitation of green energy promote the development energy transformation and storage techniques such as zinc-air batteries (ZAB). 

ZAB has been considered as a crucial technical direction of electricity conversion and storage. It possesses the advantages including using aqueous electrolyte uniquely, larger power density and less cost. However, the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in discharging endures sluggish kinetics requiring high over-potential and leading energy voltage loss, which become the essential issue restricting the performance of ZAB. 

In a study published in Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, the research group led by Prof. CAO Rong and Prof. CAO Minna from Fujian Institute of Research on the Structure of Matter of the Chinese Academy of Sciences reported a series of single-atom catalysts (M-NHC, M=Fe, Co, Ni) loaded on holey carbon matrix, in which Fe-NHC sample exhibited better catalytic ORR performance and cycle performance superior to commercial Pt/C +Ir/C catalyst when applied to ZAB. 

The M-N-C single-atom catalysts possess the isolated M-N-C configuration and maximal atom utilization, presenting high activities for various electrocatalytic reactions. For the improvement of their performance, the support is crucial in requiring exposure and stabilization of sufficient atomically dispersed M-Nx sites as well as ample electrode/electrolyte interface. N-doped holey carbon materials possessing high surface area and abundant defects are suitable candidates. 

The researchers mixed supramolecular cucurbit[6]uril (CB[6]) self-assemblies and metal salts as precursor. With pyrolysis in N2 atmosphere, the mixture was transferred to carbonaceous material. The supramolecule self-assembly with regular tunnels and carbon/nitrogen sources was transferred to holey carbon matrix possessing hierarchical micro/mesoporous structure. The formation of holey structure does not rely on templates or pre/post treatments. 

N2 adsorption-desorption analysis showed the sample displayed typical type-IV isotherms with hysteresis loops in the P/P0 range of 0-1.0, suggesting the existence of hierarchical micro/mesoporous structure. Non-local density functional theory (NLDFT) analysis also confirmed that carbon matrixes mainly included micropores and mesopores over the range of 1.0-2.0 nm and 2.5-10 nm respectively. The calculated pore distribution of CB[6]-derived M-N-C catalysts was in agreement with the holey structures owning diameter less than 10 nm distinguished in the high angle annular dark-field scanning (HAADF) transmission electron microscopy images. 

The powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD) analysis results confirmed that no detective agglomeration of metal species occurred in the pyrolysis procedure. The only two peaks around 25° and 43° were ascribed to (002) and (100) planes of graphitized carbon.  

Besides, the aberration-corrected high angle annular dark-field scanning transmission electron microscopy (ACHAADF-STEM) and Fe K-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS) spectra confirmed the isolated Fe metal sites. Numerous highly dispersed bright dots detected in ACHAADF-STEM images with size less than 0.5 nm were attributed to heavier atomic dispersed metal atoms. X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) and extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) spectra of the sample differ from those of bulk metals and metal oxides. 

The Fe loaded N-doped holey carbon single-atom electrocatalyst (Fe-NHC) exhibited high activity with the half-wave potential (E1/2) of 0.89 V versus reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE) for ORR in alkaline condition, which was better than those of Co or Ni loaded catalyst and commercial Pt/C (E1/2 = 0.83 V). The corresponding Tafel slope calculated for Fe-NHC was the smallest one (53.7 mV/dec), which was lower than that of commercial Pt/C (74.7 mV/dec) manifesting a good kinetic process for the ORR on Fe-NHC electrocatalyst. 

For the activity test of ZAB, the maximum power density of the ZAB employing Fe-NHC catalyst was as high as 157 mW/cm2, better than that of Pt/C + Ir/C catalyst (120 mW/cm2). The galvanostatic charge-discharge test was also used to examine the rechargeable ZAB with current of 10 mA/cm2

For Fe-NHC catalyst, battery was able to work continuously over 60 h cycling without observed loss of the voltage gap for charge/discharge potentials. In contrast, the voltage gap of Pt/C + Ir/C catalyst dramatically increased after 4 h test. On the whole, Fe-NHC was a promising alternative catalyst with better activity and stability to replace precious metal-based catalysts in rechargeable ZABs. 

This study holds great promise for fabricating catalysts with high surface area from macrocycle self-assembly in enabling reversible energy storage and conversion devices. 

Featured image: CB[6]-derived M-N-C single-atom catalysts was applied to ZAB with excellent catalytic activity and durability. (Image by Prof. CAO’s group)


Reference: Suyuan Zhang, Weiguang Yang, Yulin Liang, Xue Yang, Minna Cao, Rong Cao, Template-free synthesis of non-noble metal single-atom electrocatalyst with N-doped holey carbon matrix for highly efficient oxygen reduction reaction in zinc-air batteries, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, Volume 285, 2021, 119780, ISSN 0926-3373, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apcatb.2020.119780. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0926337320311978)


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A Tris-spiro Metalla-aromatic system Features Craig-Möbius Aromaticity (Chemistry)

As aromaticity is one of the most fundamental concepts in chemistry, the construction of aromatic systems has long been an important subject.

Recently, Prof. YE Shengfa from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in collaboration with Prof. XI Zhenfeng from Peking University, synthesized and characterized a tris-spiroaromatic complex, hexalithio spiro vanadacycle.

Their study was published in nature communications on Feb. 26.

In most conventional organic aromatic compounds, aromaticity stems from the high degree of delocalization of π-electrons. Compared with carbon atoms, the d orbitals of transition metals have multiple orientations and flexible bonding modes.  

Consequently, the introduction of transition metals into aromatic systems may bring new metalla-aromatic structures and extend the concept of aromaticity. 

In this study, the scientists analyzed the electronic structure using electron paramagnetic resonance coupled with density functional calculations.  

They found that the complex possessed a doublet ground state, and the unpaired electron primarily resides in the V center. The XPS measurements detected the oxidation state of V to be higher than +3.

DFT calculations elucidated that the complex represented an unprecedented 40π Craig-Mobius aromatic system that was realized by electron delocalization of four electrons within the two V 3d orbitals and thirty-six electrons arising from the π* orbitals of the three biphenyl ligands.  

This research showed the participation of d orbitals in transition metals played a key role, leading to the special metalla-aromatic structures that have been found for organic aromatic compounds. 

This work presents a novel spiroaromatic system that may contribute to both aromaticity theory and organometallic chemistry.

Featured image: Synthesis and molecular structures of hexalithio spiro vanadacycle 2 and pentalithio spiro chromacycle 3. a, Three types of spiro metalla-aromatics. b, Synthesis of complexes 2 and 3c, X-ray molecular structures of complexes 2 and 3 drawn with 30% thermal ellipsoids and selected bond lengths (Å). Hydrogen atoms are omitted for clarity. Metalla-aromatic rings are drawn in red.


Reference: Huang, Z., Zhang, Y., Zhang, WX. et al. A tris-spiro metalla-aromatic system featuring Craig-Möbius aromaticity. Nat Commun 12, 1319 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21648-9


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AIE-active Fluorescent Polymeric Hydrogel Emerged as Research Hotspot (Chemistry)

As a marriage of polymeric hydrogels and fluorescent materials, fluorescent polymeric hydrogels (FPHs) potentially integrate the merits of both materials, including intrinsic soft wet nature, tissue-like mechanical strength, biocompatibility, biomimetic self-healing feature, facilely tailored structure, and responsive fluorescence. Thus FPHs showed wide application in many fields such as sensing, imaging, displaying and anti-counterfeiting over the past decades.  

Among them, the FPHs with aggregation-induced emission (AIE) nature have drawn great attention due to that the AIE-active FPHs bear many excellent properties and thus represent a promising category of luminescent materials. 

Based on previous findings on AIE-active FPHs, Prof. CHEN Tao and colleagues at the Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering (NIMTE) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), systematically summarized the recent progress in this young but flourishing research area, with particular focus on the design and preparation of AIE-active FPHs. The study was published in Aggregate

The researchers elaborated the development significance and performance advantages of AIE-active FPHs.  

In addition, they put great emphasis on the synthesis strategy, which are classified as physical doping, covalent bonding, and supramolecular polymerization of organic AIEgens into crosslinked polymer networks. Each synthesis strategy was illustrated with a series of examples and case studies, and their practical or potential applications were demonstrated. 

Moreover, the researchers discussed the challenges and future perspectives in this field, including the exploration of simple and easy-to-operate synthetic methods, fabrication of multi-functional AIE-active FPHs, development of robust red-light-emitting FPHs, as well as systems with emission spectrum far more into the near-IR region.  

This review is expected to shed light on the further research in this field and arouse interests of researchers with various backgrounds thus trigger new opportunities.

Featured image: The schemetic illustration of the synthesis strategies of AIE-active FPHs (Image by NIMTE) 


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