International Conference on Gas Hydrates (ICGH) (6th : 2008)

THE SEARCH FOR “GREEN INHIBITORS:” PERTURBING HYDRATE GROWTH WITH BUGS Huva, Emily I.; Gordienko, Raimond V.; Ripmeester, John A.; Zeng, Huang; Walker, Virginia K.


Certain organisms, including some bugs (both insects and microbes) are able to survive low temperatures by the production of either ice nucleating proteins (INPs) or antifreeze proteins (AFPs). INPs direct crystal growth by inducing rapid ice formation whereas AFPs adsorb to ice embryos and decrease the temperature at which the ice grows. We have also shown that certain AFPs can inhibit the crystallization of clathrate hydrates and eliminate more rapid recrystallization or “memory effect”. Here we examine several bacterial species with iceassociating properties for their effect on tetrahydrofuran (THF) hydrate crystallization. The bacteria Chryseobacterium sp. C14, which shares the ice recrystallization inhibition ability of AFPs, increased induction time to THF hydrate crystallization in isothermal experiments. In an effort to understand the association between AFPs and THF hydrate we have produced bacterially-expressed AFPs as probes for hydrate binding. Although the structure of hydrates is clearly distinct from ice, the apparent potential for these products to perturb clathrate hydrate growth compels us to explore new techniques to uncover “green inhibitors” for hydrate binding.

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