Novel Thymine-functionalized Polystyrenes for Applications in Biotechnology Ii. Adsorption of Model Proteins

Document Type


Publication Date



This paper investigates the adsorption of bovine serum albumin (BSA) and bovine hemoglobin (BHb) model proteins onto novel thymine-functionalized polystyrene (PS−VBT) microspheres, in comparison with polystyrene (PS) microspheres. Maximum adsorption was obtained for both proteins near their corresponding isoelectric points (pI at pH = 4.7 for BSA and 7.1 for BHb). FTIR and adsorption isotherm analysis demonstrated that, although both proteins were physisorbed onto PS through nonspecific hydrophobic interactions, adsorption onto the functionalized copolymers occurred by both physisorption and chemisorption via hydrogen bonding. FTIR analysis also indicated conformational changes in the secondary structure of BSA and BHb adsorbed onto PS, whereas little or no conformation change was seen in the case of adsorption onto PS−VBT. Atomic force microscopy (AFM), consistent with the isotherm results, also demonstrated monolayer adsorption for both proteins. AFM images of BSA adsorbed onto copolymers with 20 mol % surface VBT loading showed exclusively end-on orientation. Adsorption onto copolymers with lower functionality showed mixed end-on and side-on orientation modes of BSA, and only the side-on orientation was observed on PS. The AFM results agreed well with theoretically calculated and experimentally obtained adsorption capacities. AFM together with calculated and observed adsorption capacity data for BHb indicated that this protein might be highly compressed on the copolymer surface. Adsorption from a binary mixture of BSA and BHb onto PS−VBT showed good separation at pH=7.0; ∼ 90% of the adsorbed protein was BHb. The novel copolymers have potential applications in biotechnology.

Publication Title






First Page


Last Page