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pH-Dependent Interaction and Resultant Structures of Silica Nanoparticles and Lysozyme Protein

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journal contribution
posted on 18.02.2014, 00:00 by Sugam Kumar, Vinod K. Aswal, P. Callow
Small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) and UV–visible spectroscopy studies have been carried out to examine pH-dependent interactions and resultant structures of oppositely charged silica nanoparticles and lysozyme protein in aqueous solution. The measurements were carried out at fixed concentration (1 wt %) of three differently sized silica nanoparticles (8, 16, and 26 nm) over a wide concentration range of protein (0–10 wt %) at three different pH values (5, 7, and 9). The adsorption curve as obtained by UV–visible spectroscopy shows exponential behavior of protein adsorption on nanoparticles. The electrostatic interaction enhanced by the decrease in the pH between the nanoparticle and protein (isoelectric point ∼11.4) increases the adsorption coefficient on nanoparticles but decreases the overall amount protein adsorbed whereas the opposite behavior is observed with increasing nanoparticle size. The adsorption of protein leads to the protein-mediated aggregation of nanoparticles. These aggregates are found to be surface fractals at pH 5 and change to mass fractals with increasing pH and/or decreasing nanoparticle size. Two different concentration regimes of interaction of nanoparticles with protein have been observed: (i) unaggregated nanoparticles coexisting with aggregated nanoparticles at low protein concentrations and (ii) free protein coexisting with aggregated nanoparticles at higher protein concentrations. These concentration regimes are found to be strongly dependent on both the pH and nanoparticle size.