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Biomimetic Antifreeze Polymers

Antifreeze polymer binding to ice

Antifreeze glycoproteins (AFGPs) are essential for preventing ice-induced death in polar fish, and function at concentrations far lower than would be required for conventional (toxic) antifreezes such as DMSO or ethylene glycol. A promising application of AFGPs, or their mimics, could be improved cryostorage of cells, stem cells or even whole organs. AFGPs could also be used to increase crop production in cool climates and to enhance the texture and improve the storage of frozen foods.

Recent work in the Gibson group has developed a series of synthetic polymers which display AFGP properties. This project aims to elucidate the molecular-level mechanisms of antifreeze active synthetic polymers and use this information to develop novel macromolecules with well-defined, optimised properties. Each stage is achieved by a combination of modern polymer chemistry and state-of-the-art computer simulations.

Selected Publications

Deller, R.C., Congdon, T., Sahid, M., Morgan, M., Vatish, M., Mitchell, D.A., Notman, R., Gibson, M.I. (2013) Ice Recrystallisation Inhibition by Polyols: Comparison of Molecular and Macromolecular Inhibitors and Role of Hydrophobic Units accepted to Biomaterials Science.

Acknowledgements

Leverhulme Trust