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Issue 9, 2011
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Rheo-attenuated total reflectance infrared spectroscopy: a new tool to study biopolymers

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Abstract

Whilst rheology is the reference technique to study the mechanical properties of unspun silk, we know little of the structure and the dynamics that generate them. By coupling infrared spectroscopy and shearing forces to study silk fibroin conversion, we are introducing a novel tool to address this gap in our knowledge. Here the silk conversion process has been studied dynamically using polarized attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy whilst applying shear, thus revealing silk protein conformation and molecular orientation in situ. Our results show that the silk conversion process starts with a pre-alignment of the proteins followed by a rapid growth of the β-sheet formation and then a subsequent deceleration of the growth. We propose that this tool will provide further insight into not only silk but any biopolymer solution, opening a new window into biological materials.

Graphical abstract: Rheo-attenuated total reflectance infrared spectroscopy: a new tool to study biopolymers

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Publication details

The article was received on 19 Nov 2010, accepted on 22 Dec 2010 and first published on 17 Jan 2011


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C0CP02599B
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2011,13, 3979-3984
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    Rheo-attenuated total reflectance infrared spectroscopy: a new tool to study biopolymers

    M. Boulet-Audet, F. Vollrath and C. Holland, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2011, 13, 3979
    DOI: 10.1039/C0CP02599B

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