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1.
Challenges in commercializing biomimetic membranes
Mark Edward Perry, Steen Ulrik Madsen, Tine Jørgensen, Sylvia Braekevelt, Karsten Lauritzen, Claus Hélix-Nielsen, 2015, review article

Abstract: The discovery of selective water channel proteins-aquaporins-has prompted growing interest in using these proteins, as the building blocks for designing new types of membranes. However, as with any other new and potentially disruptive technology, barriers for successful market entry exist. One category includes customer-related barriers, which can be influenced to some extent. Another category includes market-technical-related barriers, which can be very difficult to overcome by an organization/company aiming at successfully introducing their innovation on the market%in particular if both the organization and the technology are at early stages. Often, one faces barriers from both these categories at the same time, which makes it necessary to gain insight of the particular market when introducing a new innovative product. In this review we present the basic concepts and discuss some of these barriers and challenges associated with introducing biomimetic aquaporin membranes. These include technical issues in membrane production and product testing. Then we discuss possible business models for introducing new technologies in general, followed by a presentation of beach-head market segments relevant for biomimetic aquaporin membranes.
Keywords: aquaporin membranes, biomimetic, commercialization, early stage technology
Published: 21.06.2017; Views: 376; Downloads: 205
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2.
Separation of peptides with forward osmosis biomimetic membranes
Niada Bajraktari, Henrik T. Madsen, Mathias F. Gruber, Sigurd Truelsen, Elzbieta L. Jensen, Henrik Jensen, Claus Hélix-Nielsen, 2016, original scientific article

Abstract: Forward osmosis (FO) membranes have gained interest in several disciplines for the rejection and concentration of various molecules. One application area for FO membranes that is becoming increasingly popular is the use of the membranes to concentrate or dilute high value compound solutions such as pharmaceuticals. It is crucial in such settings to control the transport over the membrane to avoid losses of valuable compounds, but little is known about the rejection and transport mechanisms of larger biomolecules with often flexible conformations. In this study, transport of two chemically similar peptides with molecular weight (Mw) of 375 and 692 Da across a thin film composite Aquaporin Inside™ Membrane (AIM) FO membrane was investigated. Despite the relative large size, both peptides were able to permeate the dense active layer of the AIM membrane and the transport mechanism was determined to be diffusion-based. Interestingly, the membrane permeability increased 3.65 times for the 692 Da peptide (1.39 × 10−12 m2·s−1) compared to the 375 Da peptide (0.38 × 10−12 m2·s−1). This increase thus occurs for an 85% increase in Mw but only for a 34% increase in peptide radius of gyration (Rg) as determined from molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. This suggests that Rg is a strong influencing factor for membrane permeability. Thus, an increased Rg reflects the larger peptide chains ability to sample a larger conformational space when interacting with the nanostructured active layer increasing the likelihood for permeation.
Keywords: forward osmosis, biomimetic, peptides, rejection
Published: 21.06.2017; Views: 314; Downloads: 232
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3.
High yield purification of full-length functional hERG K+ channels produced in Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Karen Molbaek, Claus Hélix-Nielsen, 2015, original scientific article

Abstract: The hERG potassium channel is essential for repolarization of the cardiac action potential. Due to this vital function, absence of unintended and potentially life-threatening interactions with hERG is required for approval of new drugs. The structure of hERG is therefore one of the most sought-after. To provide purified hERG for structural studies and new hERG biomimetic platforms for detection of undesirable interactions, we have developed a hERG expression platform generating unprecedented amounts of purified and functional hERG channels. Full-length hERG, with or without a C-terminally fused green fluorescent protein (GFP) His 8-tag was produced from a codon-optimized hERG cDNA in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Both constructs complemented the high potassium requirement of a knock-out Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain, indicating correct tetramer assembly in vivo. Functionality was further demonstrated by Astemizole binding to membrane embedded hERG-GFP-His 8 with a stoichiometry corresponding to tetramer assembly. The 156 kDa hERG-GFP protein accumulated to a membrane density of 1.6%. Fluorescence size exclusion chromatography of hERG-GFP-His 8 solubilized in Fos-Choline-12 supplemented with cholesteryl-hemisuccinate and Astemizole resulted in a monodisperse elution profile demonstrating a high quality of the hERG channels. hERG-GFP-His 8 purified by Ni-affinity chromatography maintained the ability to bind Astemizole with the correct stoichiometry indicating that the native, tetrameric structure was preserved. To our knowledge this is the first reported high-yield production and purification of full length, tetrameric and functional hERG. This significant breakthrough will be paramount in obtaining hERG crystal structures, and in establishment of new high-throughput hERG drug safety screening assays.
Keywords: potassium channel, membrane protein production, functional expression, cardiac action potential
Published: 29.06.2017; Views: 496; Downloads: 179
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4.
Forward osmosis in wastewater treatment processes
Jasmina Korenak, Subhankar Basu, Malini Balakrishnan, Claus Hélix-Nielsen, Irena Petrinić, 2017, original scientific article

Abstract: In recent years, membrane technology has been widely used in wastewater treatment and water purification. Membrane technology is simple to operate and produces very high quality water for human consumption and industrial purposes. One of the promising technologies for water and wastewater treatment is the application of forward osmosis. Essentially, forward osmosis is a process in which water is driven through a semipermeable membrane from a feed solution to a draw solution due to the osmotic pressure gradient across the membrane. The immediate advantage over existing pressure driven membrane technologies is that the forward osmosis process per se eliminates the need for operation with high hydraulic pressure and forward osmosis has low fouling tendency. Hence, it provides an opportunity for saving energy and membrane replacement cost. However, there are many limitations that still need to be addressed. Here we briefly review some of the applications within water purification and new developments in forward osmosis membrane fabrication.
Keywords: wastewater treatment, biomimetic membranes, desalination, draw solutions, forward osmosis
Published: 18.08.2017; Views: 470; Downloads: 218
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5.
Biomimetic membranes for forward osmosis application in industrial wastewater treatment
Jasmina Korenak, 2018, doctoral dissertation

Abstract: The problem of wastewater is increasing as we face tighter regulations in limiting parameters for discharge into sewers or surface waters. At the same time, the challenge is also how to upgrade existing technology and identify new appropriate technologies for purification of industrial wastewater for re-use. The optimal solution, which can give the appropriate quality of purified water at acceptable operating costs also is not straightforward. However, increasing environmental legislative demands combined with increased fresh water consumption can facilitate implementation of emerging technologies which at the current state are not fully mature. Forward Osmosis (FO) is one such recent achievement which is considered as a promising membrane process and potentially a sustainable alternative to reverse osmosis (RO) process for wastewater reclamation and sea/brackish water desalination. However, there are many limiting parameters (e.g. membrane fouling, draw solutions) in FO process that needs to be studied and improved. To reduce the membrane fouling in FO, many improvements were attempted, e.g. synthesis of different membrane materials, fabrication of membrane modules, membrane coating etc. One of the novelties in membrane development research field is biomimetic membranes incorporate in separation processes. They employ natural proteins known as AQPs (aqpourins) to regulate the flow of water, providing increased permeability and near-perfect solute rejection. Membrane surface characteristics were measured on virgin, used and cleane membrane in order to confirm the resistance to different types of industrial wastewater and sewage.
Keywords: biomimetic membrane, forward osmosis, industrial wastewater, reverse osmosis, textile wastewater, ultrafiltration, wastewater reuse
Published: 25.07.2018; Views: 664; Downloads: 49
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6.
Aquaporin-based biomimetic polymeric membranes
Joachim Habel, Michael R. Hansen, Søren Kynde, Nanna Larsen, Søren Roi Midtgaard, Grethe Vestergaard Jensen, Julie Bomholt, Anayo Ogbonna, Kristoffer Almdal, Alexander Schulz, Claus Hélix-Nielsen, 2015, review article

Abstract: In recent years, aquaporin biomimetic membranes (ABMs) for water separation have gained considerable interest. Although the first ABMs are commercially available, there are still many challenges associated with further ABM development. Here, we discuss the interplay of the main components of ABMs: aquaporin proteins (AQPs), block copolymers for AQP reconstitution, and polymer-based supporting structures. First, we briefly cover challenges and review recent developments in understanding the interplay between AQP and block copolymers. Second, we review some experimental characterization methods for investigating AQP incorporation including freeze-fracture transmission electron microscopy, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, stopped-flow light scattering, and small-angle X-ray scattering. Third, we focus on recent efforts in embedding reconstituted AQPs in membrane designs that are based on conventional thin film interfacial polymerization techniques. Finally, we describe some new developments in interfacial polymerization using polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane cages for increasing the physical and chemical durability of thin film composite membranes.
Keywords: aquaporins, biomimetic membranes, block copolymers, proteopolymersomes, polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes, polyamide layer, microfluidics, membrane proteins, protein-polymer-interactions
Published: 21.06.2017; Views: 556; Downloads: 31
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