Winter'14 Departmental Seminar Series


Title: Bionanotechnology - From Material Developments to Applications
Manju Misra - Plant Agriculture/ School of Engineering, University of Guelph



“What would happen if we could arrange the atoms one by one the way we want them?” asked Richard Feynman, a well-known American physicist, in his speech during the meeting of the American Physical Society in 29 December 19591. This idea eventually became a research field known as nanotechnology. Nanotechnology involves creation of value-added products, new devices, and ground-breaking systems through control of matters on the nanometer length scale, which is based on understanding physics, chemistry, biology and technology of materials in nano level. Bionanotechnology refers to the crossroads of nanotechnology and biology. Over the last decade; sustainability, industrial ecology, eco-efficiency and green chemistry are guiding the development of the next generation of materials, products and processes. Currently interests in polymeric materials containing dispersed nano-scale particles (nanofiller) has skyrocketed due to the potential for significant improvement to mechanical, thermal, barrier and flammability properties. Bionanocomposites (example: nanofiller reinforced bioresin) are emerging as a viable alternative to the traditional nanocomposites, especially in packaging, automotive, agriculture, energy storage, water/air purification system and biomedicine applications. The combination of organic and inorganic nano-reinfocements such as nanoclay, nanosilica, nanoalumina, cellulose nanowhiskers/nanofibres, graphene, and carbon nanotubes etc. with polymer matrices obtained from renewable resources can produce green nanofibre and bionanocomposite materials that are competitive with existing conventional nano-materials. Recent developments in nanoparticle and bionanofibre synthesis, bionanocomposite processing, properties and application and related bionanotechnology will be highlighted in this presentation.

1Nanovision: Engineering the Future. 2008.C. Milburn. Duke University Press.


The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant; CFI-LOF; NSERC-NCE AUTO21; NSERC-CRD; The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs (OMAF/MRA) New Directions Research Program; OMAF/MRA -University of Guelph Bioeconomy Industrial Uses Research theme; University of Guelph, Ministry of Research and Innovation (MRI) ORF-RE BioNib and BioCar projects; The Hannam Soybean Utilization Fund (HSUF); Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO); Soy 20/20; Ontario Agri-Food Technologies (OAFT); FedDev, Ontario; Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT).

Biography: Dr. Manju Misra is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering and holds a joint appointment in the Dept. of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph. Dr. Misra’s current research focuses primarily on novel bio-based composites and nanocomposites from agricultural and forestry resources for the sustainable bio-economy targeting the development of bio-based and eco-friendly alternatives to the existing petroleum-based products. She has authored more than 350 publications, including 230+ peer-reviewed journal papers, 16 book chapters, and 15 granted patents. She was an editor of the CRC Press volume, “Natural Fibers, Biopolymers and Biocomposites,” Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, FL (2005). She was also an editor of the American Scientific Publishers volume “Packaging Nanotechnology”, Valencia, California, (2009) and Polymer Nanocomposites, Springer (2014). She was the 2009 President of the BioEnvironmental Polymer Society (BEPS). She is one of the Associate Editors of the journal “Advanced Science Letters” and is also an executive editor of: “Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy”. In 2012, Dr. Misra received the prestigious “Jim Hammer Memorial Award” in Texas, USA from the BioEnvironmental Polymer Society. Her current research is primarily focused on novel biobased materials from agricultural and forestry resources for the sustainable bio-economy; and application of nanotechnology in materials uses.