Self-Assembled Reverse Micelles in Supercritical CO2 Entrap Protein in Native State
Molecular dynamics simulations of random quaternary mixtures of protein-water-CO2-fluorosurfactants show the self-assembly of reverse micelles in supercritical carbon dioxide where the protein becomes entrapped inside the aqueous pool. Analyses show that the protein native state remains intact in the water pool. This is because of the bulk nature of the enclosed water that provides a suitable environment for the extracted protein. Results from ab initio calculations imply that the existing fluorosurfactants can be made more effective in stabilizing water-in-CO2 microemulsions by a partial hydrogenation in their tails. A Lewis acid?Lewis base interaction among CO2 and the surfactant tails enhances the stability of the aqueous droplets substantially. The study can help accelerate the search for surfactant process for environmentally benign applications in dense CO2.