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Gelation: The Role of Sugars and Polyols on Gelatin and Agarose

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Publication details

JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
DateE-pub ahead of print - 6 Nov 2014
DatePublished (current) - 20 Nov 2014
Issue number46
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)13210-13216
Early online date6/11/14
Original languageEnglish


Gelation is enhanced by the addition of sugars and polyols. How, at a microscopic level, do such cosolvents enhance gelation? The following two different hypotheses have been proposed so far to answer this question: (i) enhancement of water structure around the biopolymer induced by cosolvents; (ii) exclusion of cosolvents from biopolymer surfaces. To examine the validity of the above hypotheses, as well as to quantify the driving forces of cosolvent-induced gelation, we have constructed a statistical thermodynamic theory of gelation, by extending our Kirkwood-Buff theory of cosolvency; biopolymer-water and biopolymer-cosolvent interactions can both be determined from thermodynamic data. The exclusion of cosolvents is shown to be the dominant contribution, whereas the hydration change is a minor contribution, which may be important only so far as to mediate the exclusion of cosolvents.

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