Our recent study reported that conformation change of granule-associated Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA) may influence the role of the protein controlling colloid deposition in porous media (Flynn et al., 2012). The present study conceptualized the observed phenomena with an ellipsoid morphology model, describing BSA as an ellipsoid taking a side-on or end-on conformation on granular surface, and identified the following processes: (1) at low adsorbed concentrations, BSA exhibited a side-on conformation blocking colloid deposition; (2) at high adsorbed concentrations, BSA adapted to an end-on conformation promoted colloid deposition; and (3) colloid deposition on the BSA layer may progressively generate end-on molecules (sites) by conformation change of side-on BSA, resulting in sustained increasing deposition rates. Generally, the protein layer lowered colloid attenuation by the porous medium, suggesting the overall effect of BSA was inhibitory at the experimental time scale. A mathematical model was developed to interpret the ripening curves. Modeling analysis identified the site generation efficiency of colloid as a control on the ripening rate (declining rate in colloid concentrations), and this efficiency was higher for BSA adsorbed from a more dilute BSA solution.
Yang, X., Flynn, R., Von Der Kammer, F., & Hofmann, T. (2012). Modeling colloid deposition on a protein layer adsorbed to iron-oxide-coated sand. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 142-143, 50-62. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jconhyd.2012.09.006