Construction by Molecular Dynamics Modeling and Simulations of the Porous Structures Formed by Dextran Polymer Chains Attached on the Surface of the Pores of a Base Matrix: Characterization of Porous Structures


Significant increases in the separation of bioactive molecules by using ion-exchange chromatography are realized by utilizing porous adsorbent particles in which the affinity group/ligand is linked to the base matrix of the porous particle via a polymeric extender. To study and understand the behavior of such systems, the M3B model is modified and used in molecular dynamics (MD) simulation studies to construct porous dextran layers on the surface of a base matrix, where the dextran polymer chains and the surface are covered by water. Two different porous polymer layers having 25 and 40 monomers per main polymer chain of dextran, respectively, are constructed, and their three-dimensional (3D) porous structures are characterized with respect to porosity, pore size distribution, and number of conducting pathways along the direction of net transport. It is found that the more desirable practical implications with respect to structural properties exhibited by the porous polymer layer having 40 monomers per main polymer chain, are mainly due to the higher flexibility of the polymer chains of this system, especially in the upper region of the porous structure. The characterization and analysis of the porous structures have suggested a useful definition for the physical meaning and implications of the pore connectivity of a real porous medium that is significantly different than the artificial physical meaning associated with the pore connectivity parameter employed in pore network models and whose physical limitations are discussed; furthermore, the methodology developed for the characterization of the three-dimensional structures of real porous media could be used to analyze the experimental data obtained from high-resolution noninvasive three-dimensional methods like high-resolution optical microscopy. The MD modeling and simulations methodology presented here could be used, considering that the type and size of affinity group/ligand as well as the size of the biomolecule to be adsorbed onto the affinity group/ligand are known, to construct different porous dextran layers by varying the length of the polymeric chain of dextran, the number of attachment points to the base matrix, the degree of side branching, and the number of main polymeric chains immobilized per unit surface area of base matrix. After the characterization of the porous structures of the different porous dextran layers is performed, then only a few promising structures would be selected for studying the immobilization of adsorption sites on the pore surfaces and the subsequent adsorption of the bioactive molecules onto the immobilized affinity groups/ligands.


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Base Matrix; Dextran Polymer; Optical Microscopy; Biomolecules; Ion-exchange chromatography; Monomers

Document Type

Article - Journal

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© 2005 American Chemical Society (ACS), All rights reserved.