Several studies have shown that one of the critical factors governing protein fouling of microfiltration membranes is the presence of denaturedand/or aggregated protein in the bulk solutions. Experiments were performed to evaluate the role of intermolecular disulfide interchange reactionson protein aggregation and membrane fouling during stirred cell microfiltration of bovine serum albumin (BSA). The flux decline during BSA filtration was quite dramatic due to the formation of a protein deposit thatfully covered the membrane pores. This flux decline could be completely eliminated by capping the free sulfhydryl group present on the BSA with eithera carboxymethyl or cysteinyl group, demonstrating the critical importance of this free thiol in the intermolecular aggregation reactions and, in turn, protein fouling. BSA aggregation during storage could be reduced by the addition of metal chelators (EDTA and citrate) or dithiothreitol, orby storage at lower pH (7.0) these solutions all had a significantly lower rate of fouling upon subsequent filtration. This behavior is completely consistent with the known chemistry of the thiol–disulfide interchange reaction, demonstrating that an understanding of these intermolecular (aggregation) reactions can provide a rational framework for the analysis and control of protein fouling in these membrane systems. © 1994 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology