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Local Composition in Solvent + Polymer or Biopolymer Systems

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journal contribution
posted on 13.03.2008, 00:00 by Ivan L. Shulgin, Eli Ruckenstein
The focus of this paper is on the application of the Kirkwood−Buff (KB) fluctuation theory to the analysis of the local composition in systems composed of a low molecular weight solvent and a high molecular weight polymer or protein. A key quantity in the calculation of the local composition is the excess (or deficit) of any species i around a central molecule j in a binary mixture. A new expression derived by the authors (J. Phys. Chem. B 2006, 110, 12707) for the excess (deficit) is used in the present paper. First, the literature regarding the local composition in such systems is reviewed. It is shown that the frequently used Zimm cluster integral provides incorrect results because it is based on an incorrect expression for the excess (or deficit). In the present paper, our new expression is applied to solvent + macromolecule systems to predict the local composition around both a solvent and a macromolecule central molecule. Five systems (toluene + polystyrene, water + collagen, water + serum albumin, water + hydroxypropyl cellulose, and water + Pluronic P105) were selected for this purpose. The results revealed that for water + collagen and water + serum albumin mixtures, the solvent was in deficit around a central solvent molecule and that for the other three mixtures, the opposite was true. In contrast, the solvent was always in excess around the macromolecule for all mixtures investigated. In the dilute range of the solvent, the excesses are due mainly to the different solvent and macromolecule sizes. However, in the dilute range of the macromolecule, the intermolecular interactions between solvent and macromolecule are mainly responsible for the excess. The obtained results shed some light on protein hydration.