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Antifreeze proteins and homogeneous nucleation: On the physical determinants impeding ice crystal growth

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Bianco, Valentino and Espinosa, Jorge R. and Vega de las Heras, Carlos (2020) Antifreeze proteins and homogeneous nucleation: On the physical determinants impeding ice crystal growth. Journal of Chemical Physics, 153 . 091102. ISSN 1089-7690

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0023211



Abstract

Antifreeze proteins (AFPs) are biopolymers capable of interfering with ice growth. Their antifreeze action is commonly understood considering that the AFPs, by pinning the ice surface, force the crystal–liquid interface to bend forming an ice meniscus, causing an increase in the surface free energy and resulting in a decrease in the freezing point ΔT max. Here, we present an extensive computational study for a model protein adsorbed on a TIP4P/Ice crystal, computing ΔT max as a function of the average distance d between AFPs, with simulations spanning over 1 μs. First, we show that the lower the d, the larger the ΔT max. Then, we find that the water–ice–protein contact angle along the line ΔT max(d) is always larger than 0○ , and we provide a theoretical interpretation. We compute the curvature radius of the stable solid–liquid interface at a given supercooling ΔT ≤ ΔT max, connecting it with the critical ice nucleus at ΔT. Finally, we discuss the antifreeze capability of AFPs in terms of the protein–water and protein–ice interactions. Our findings establish a unified description of the AFPs in the contest of homogeneous ice nucleation, elucidating key aspects of the antifreeze mechanisms and paving the way for the design of novel ice-controlling materials.


Item Type:Article
Subjects:Sciences > Chemistry
Sciences > Chemistry > Water
Sciences > Chemistry > Physics
Sciences > Chemistry > Computer science
Sciences > Chemistry > Chemistry, Physical and theoretical
ID Code:62520
Deposited On:13 Oct 2020 11:45
Last Modified:13 Oct 2020 11:45

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