Interfacial behavior of proteins in three-phase partitioning using salt-containing water/tert-butanol systems

É Kiss, J. Szamos, B. Tamás, R. Borbás

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Three-phase partitioning (TPP) was used to investigate the partitioning of four model proteins (bovine serum albumin, ovalbumin, lysozyme and gelatine) in a system containing water, tert-butanol and an inorganic electrolyte ((NH4)2SO4). Phase diagrams of the ternary (protein-free) system and interfacial tensions between the equilibrium upper and lower liquid phases have been determined. The amount of protein precipitated in the middle layer was delineated as a function of the composition of the partitioning system as well as the initial protein concentration. No dependence of the relative amount of protein accumulated in the midlayer on the total amount of protein was observed. The constant partitioning ratio found in TPP emphasizes the partitioning character of the process. The interfacial adsorption of a single protein (indicated by the decreasing interfacial tension between the immiscible liquid phases) shows a good correlation with the accumulation of the same protein in TPP as a middle layer for the various proteins investigated. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-302
Number of pages8
JournalColloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 10 1998



  • Interfacial adsorption of BSA, OVA and LYS
  • Interfacial tension
  • Phase behavior of water/tert-butanol/ammonium sulfate ternary system
  • Precipitation of proteins
  • Three-phase partitioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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