Dynamic membranes for protein transport: chemical and electrical control

P. E. Grimshaw, A. J. Grodzinsky, M. L. Yarmush, D. M. Yarmush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Dynamic control of protein transport across hydrogel membranes can be achieved through modulation of electrical forces to: (1) directly alter the solute flux, and (2) alter the membrane microstructure. Potential applications include separation processes and controlled drug delivery. In this study, trans-membrane electric fields and changes in the composition of the electrolyte bath enable selective control of the transport of fluorescently labelled proteins and neutral solutes across polymethacrylic acid and polyacrylamide membranes. Four distinct mechanisms for controlling the solute flux are identified: electromechanical deformation of the membrane, electroosmotic and electrophoretic augmentation of the solute flux within the membrane, and electrostatic partitioning of charged solutes into charged membranes. Results of experiments involving separation of two solutes demonstrate that changes in the solute flux are dependent on both size and charge. By optimizing membrane composition and operating conditions for solutes of interest, large permeability and selectivity changes can be controlled through a combination of the above mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)827-840
Number of pages14
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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