Nano particles help purify proteins

Published: Friday 15 February 2008

-- scientists have designed a method that may make production of aroma in fruits easier, and also cheaper. Alternatively, the product can also be used to get rid of impurities in insulin made in a laboratory, or recombinant protein (produced artificially), as it is termed. So, what is the product? It is extremely small--or nano--particles of iron oxide, with magnetic properties.

The magnetic properties of nanoparticles help them bind with specific recombinant proteins. "The nanoparticles may be used as a novel purification system for recombinant proteins which have therapeutic and industrial applications," says Panchanan Pramanik, lead researcher from the department of chemistry, iit, Kharagpur.

The method, Pramanik says, has an advantage over the current method which uses micron size iron oxide powder coated with nickel.

"The present method is not effective to recover proteins in low concentrations. Our method is cost-effective and bio-compatible, besides being able to separate and purify proteins even in extremely low concentrations," he says. He says around 1.5 mg of protein can be separated using only 1 mg of magnetic nanoparticles without any filtration.

Milan Sanyal of Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata, advises caution. "This is interesting but biocompatibility and biotechnological applications needs much more systematic investigations," he said.

The study was published in the Journal of Nanoscience and Nano technology (Vol 7, No 1-7).

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