A Non-Foaming Proteosurfactant Engineered from Ranaspumin-2
Carly R. Strelez '14, Gettysburg College
Advances in biological surfactant proteins have already yielded a diverse range of benefits from dramatically improved survival rates for premature births to artificial photosynthesis. Presented here is the design, development, and analysis of a novel biosurfactant protein we call Surfactant Resisting Foam formatioN (SRFN). Starting with the Tungara frog's foam forming protein Ranaspumin-2, we have engineered a new surfactant protein with a destabilized hinge region to alter the kinetics and equilibrium of the protein structural transition from aqueous globular form to an extended surfactant structure at the air/water interface. SRFN is capable of approximately the same total surface tension reduction, but with the unique property of forming quickly collapsible foams. The difference in foam formation is attributed to the destabilizing glycine substitutions engineered into the hinge region. Surfactants used specifically to increase wettability, such as those used in agricultural applications would benefit from this new proteosurfactant since foamed liquid has greater wind resistance and decreased dispersal. Indeed, given growing concern of organsilicone surfactant effects on declining bee populations, biological surfactant proteins have several unique advantages over more common amphiphiles in that they can be renewably sourced, are environmentally friendly, degrade readily into non-toxic byproducts, and reduce surface tension without deleterious effects on cell membranes.
Frey, Shelli L., Jacob Todd, Elizabeth Wurtzler, Carly R. Strelez, David Wendell. "A Non-Foaming Proteosurfactant Engineered from Ranaspumin-2." Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 133 (September 2015), 239-245.