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Isoelectric Focusing in Space

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 February 2011

M. Bier
Affiliation:
Biophysics Technology Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
N. B. Egen
Affiliation:
Biophysics Technology Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
R. A. Mosher
Affiliation:
Biophysics Technology Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
G. E. Twitty
Affiliation:
Biophysics Technology Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
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Abstract

The potential of space electrophoresis is conditioned by the fact that all electrophoretic techniques require the suppression of gravity-caused convection. Isoelectric focusing (IEF) is a powerful variant of electrophoresis, in which amphoteric substances are separated in a pH gradient according to their isoelectric points. A new apparatus for large scale IEF, utilizing a recycling principle, has been developed. In the ground-based prototype, laminar flow is provided by a series of parallel filter elements. The operation of the apparatus is monitored by an automated array of pH and ultraviolet absorption sensors under control of a desk-top computer. The apparatus has proven to be useful for the purification of a variety of enzymes, snake venom proteins, peptide hormones, and other biologicals, including interferon produced by genetic engineering techniques. In planning for a possible space apparatus, a crucial question regarding electroosmosis needs to be addressed. To solve this problem, simple focusing test modules are planned for inclusion in an early Shuttle flight.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 1982

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References

1.Bier, M. in: Materials Sciences in Space with Applications to Space Processing, Steg, L. ed. (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, New York 1977) pp.4156.Google Scholar
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