Protein Interactions at Liquid/Solid Interfaces: Protein Interactions with Colloidal Alumina Particles Functionalized with Amino, Carboxyl, Sulfonate and Phosphate Groups
Protein adsorption at interfaces is a common phenomenon that is considered both advantageous and a problem in many fields, including medicine, biotechnology, environmental science, food processing and analysis. As protein–material interaction is largely a function of the material surface chemistry, a wealth of current research is aimed at functionalizing surfaces to control the overall material properties and, therefore, achieving a highly specific, controllable and predictable protein interaction behaviour at interfaces. In this chapter, some recent developments in material surface modification and the characterization of interactions of proteins and metal oxide particles at the liquid/solid interface are presented. Discussion is mainly focused on the interaction of alumina colloids, which provide an ideal substrate for surface functionalization and a suitable model for studying protein/material interface processes as a function of different surface chemistries. Additionally, alumina represents a technically relevant material widely employed in biomedical, biotechnological and environmental applications, including biosensing, protein separation and purification and biocatalysis. Some fundamental concepts regarding protein–surface interactions and surface functionalization are given along with some examples and models for investigating and deciphering the adsorption of single or self-assembled proteins such as viruses at liquid/solid interfaces. Understanding such issues will give guidance to design novel, advanced functional materials for different applications.