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Interactive functional poly(vinylidene fluoride) membranes with modulated lysozyme affinity: a promising class of new interfaces for contactor crystallizers

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BACKGROUND: One of the challenges of current researches in biotechnological fields is the achievement of regular and increasingly smaller protein crystals for genomics and biocatalyst applications. The membrane contactor‐based methodology appears to be a time‐effective and economically competitive technology for accomplishing this target.

RESULTS: A new class of interactive polymeric interfaces enabling the nucleation of very small protein crystals in a short time through controlling attractive interactions is discussed. Specifically, the role of attractive interfacial forces between a model lysozyme solution and modified poly(vinylidene fluoride) membranes is examined. The insertion of amphiphilic motifs in the fluorinated membranes allows quicker agglomeration of protein crystals at the membrane surface reducing significantly the induction time for protein nucleation. The chemical nature of the modifier permits the modulation of the membrane affinity to the lysozyme, involving polar and non‐polar attractive interactions and preserving intrinsic structural features, transport properties and the hydrophobic character of the interfaces, according to the basics of membrane crystallization technology. The formation of critical nuclei is observed after 3 h and micro‐sized crystals are formed in less than 24 h.

CONCLUSION: The experimental evidence suggests these membranes as a promising class of interactive interfaces that may rapidly bring advances in genomics research. Copyright © 2009 Society of Chemical Industry
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Keywords: crystals; interfacial interactions; membrane; protein; surface

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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