xDr. Sutapa Barua-Assistant Professor and xMason Donnell-Undergraduate Student
xMissouri University of Science and Technology
xChemical and Biochemical Engineering Department
Engineering Nanoparticulate Films to Save Lives
Endotoxin or lipopolysaccharide (LPS), found on the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria, is readily released when a bacterial membrane lyses. Exposure to these released toxins triggers the body’s fatal immune response called sepsis: the 6th leading cause of death in the world. Sepsis originates from to the exposure of untreated water, containing the lysed bacteria. Endotoxin contaminated water has been found in many U.S. river systems, and even hospitals. The exposure to endotoxin in hospitals has lead to thousands of critically ill patients losing their lives to a preventable and initially absent infection.
Current preventions, though, for sepsis are insufficient due to the difficulty in removing endotoxin from aqueous mediums. Investigating the molecular structure of endotoxin lead to the hypothesis of utilizing secondary boding interactions between polymeric nanoparticles and the LPS. Endotoxins possess large fatty acid chains with a central negative active site, which allow for hydrophobic and electrostatic bonding. By synthesizing amphipathic polymeric nanoparticles, bonding to endotoxin can be achieved.
To quantitatively assess the bonding of polymeric nanoparticles to endotoxin a fluorescent dye is applied in an in-vitro florescent assay. Isothermal titration calorimetry will also be implemented to further establish the robust bonding of the polymeric nanoparticles to the toxin. Lastly, engineering a porous film for these polymeric nanoparticles to function in produces a novel filtration system to prevent endotoxin contamination in aqueous mediums.
We propose a preventative nanoparticulate polymer film for the entrapment of endotoxin from clinical aqueous mediums. Utilizing the specific bonding interactions in a porous film will produce an exceptionally efficient filtration system, surpassing current removal techniques. Methodology follows the order of: synthesis of polymeric nanoparticles, engineering a porous film, fluorescence assay analysis, thermodynamic calorimetry, and evaluation of endotoxin removal.
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