Our new paper on “Nanocellulose for gel electrophoresis” has been published in Journal of Colloid and Interface Science.
The study has reported a proof-of-concept for utilising nanocellulose gels as novel electrophoresis media. Gels from TEMPO-oxidised cellulose nanofibres were chemically cross-linked by diamines to form slabs for horizontal gel electrophoresis. The feasibility of boric acid catalysed amide formation between the carboxylate pendant groups of the nanocellulose fibres with diamine terminated cross-linkers were demonstrated. Curing (80 °C) enhanced the cross-linking for increased gel stability (handleability and minimal deformation during electrophoresis). The pore size of the gel network was varied with the carbon chain length of the diamine cross-linker molecule. This affected the migration rates for both the bromophenol blue and orange G dyes. Gel stability was also influenced as shorter cross-linkers (i.e. EDA) produced unstable gels which extend and retract at both ends of the cell during electrophoresis. Increasing the cross-linker concentration increased gel stability and handleability whilst migration rate and behaviour remained constant. Increasing the electrophoresis voltage increased the migration rate and separation gap between bromophenol blue and orange G. Further development is required to cast the gels evenly and to prevent bubble formation during the cross-linking process. This will enable to effectively separate mixtures of proteins. Nanocellulose gels can become a novel substrate for sustainable biomedical separation and diagnostics by electrophoresis.
Authors: Llyza Mendoza, Thilina Gunawardhana, Warren Batchelor and Gil Garnier