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Issue 47, 2013
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Hydroxide ion flux and pH-gradient driven ester hydrolysis in polymer vesicle reactors

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Abstract

In this article, we measured the hydroxide ion flux across poly(ethylene oxide-b-butadiene) (PEO-PBD) membranes, and characterized the magnitude of established pH gradients. In terms of permeability, PEO-PBD vesicles (polymersomes) are suitable polymeric analogues of lipid vesicles, with comparable permeabilities that can be tuned by varying the molecular weight (i.e. membrane thickness) of the polymer amphiphiles. PEO-PBD dispersions were found to be capable of maintaining gradients of up to 6 pH units for several weeks and their utility for partitioning acid-ionisable species inside polymer vesicles was demonstrated. Furthermore, pH gradients across vesicle membranes can be used to drive spatially-confined chemical reactions, and these gradients were used to facilitate the reaction of a fluorogenic compound, fluorescein diacetate, inside the high pH environment confined to the polymersome interior. In this sense, pH-gradient vesicles can act as artificial lysosomes, facilitating the collection and digestion of materials that can be hydrolysed in alkaline environments.

Graphical abstract: Hydroxide ion flux and pH-gradient driven ester hydrolysis in polymer vesicle reactors

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Publication details

The article was received on 05 Jun 2013, accepted on 23 Oct 2013 and first published on 25 Oct 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3SM51575C
Soft Matter, 2013,9, 11295-11302

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    Hydroxide ion flux and pH-gradient driven ester hydrolysis in polymer vesicle reactors

    W. F. Paxton, D. Price and N. J. Richardson, Soft Matter, 2013, 9, 11295
    DOI: 10.1039/C3SM51575C

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