Stability of colloidal dispersions in the presence of protein fibrils
We studied the stability of monodispersed polystyrene latex dispersions with protein fibrils at different concentrations at pH 2 using microscopy and diffusing wave spectroscopy. At low fibril concentrations, fibrils induced bridging flocculation due to the opposite charges between fibrils and the latex particles. At higher fibril concentration the dispersions were stabilized due to steric and/or electrostatic repulsion. Upon further increasing fibril concentration, we find that the dispersion is destabilized again by depletion interaction. At even higher fibril concentration, the dispersions are stabilized again. These dispersions have a higher stability compared to the dispersions without fibrils. Interestingly, these dispersions contain single particles and small clusters of particles that do not grow beyond a certain size. Although the stabilization mechanism is not clear yet, the results from microscopy and diffusing wave spectroscopy point in the direction of a kinetic barrier that depends on fibril concentration.