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

THE MYSTERIES OF MEMORY EFFECT AND ITS ELIMINATION WITH ANTIFREEZE PROTEINS Walker, Virginia K.; Zeng, Huang; Gordienko, Raimond V.; Kuiper, Michael J.; Huva, Emily I.; Ripmeester, John A.


Crystallization of water or water-encaged gas molecules occurs when nuclei reach a critical size. Certain antifreeze proteins (AFPs) can inhibit the growth of both of these, with most representations conceiving of an embryonic crystal with AFPs adsorbing to a preferred face, resulting in a higher kinetic barrier for molecule addition. We have examined AFP-mediated inhibition of ice and clathrate hydrate crystallization, and these observations can be both explained and modeled using this mechanism for AFP action. However, the remarkable ability of AFPs to eliminate „memory effect‟ (ME) or the faster reformation of clathrate hydrates after melting, prompted us to examine heterogeneous nucleation. The ubiquitous impurity, silica, served as a model nucleator hydrophilic surface. Quartz crystal microbalance-dissipation (QCM-D) experiments indicated that an active AFP was tightly adsorbed to the silica surface. In contrast, polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) and polyvinylcaprolactam (PVCap), two commercial hydrate kinetic inhibitors that do not eliminate ME, were not so tightly adsorbed. Significantly, a mutant AFP (with no activity toward ice) inhibited THF hydrate growth, but not ME. QCM-D analysis showed that adsorption of the mutant AFP was more similar to PVCap than the active AFP. Thus, although there is no evidence for „memory‟ in ice reformation, and the structures of ice and clathrate hydrate are distinct, the crystallization of ice and hydrates, and the elimination of the more rapid recrystallization of hydrates, can be mediated by the same proteins.

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