Recrystallization inhibition in ice due to ice binding protein activity detected by nuclear magnetic resonance

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Liquid water present in polycrystalline ice at the interstices between ice crystals results in a network of liquid-filled veins and nodes within a solid ice matrix, making ice a low porosity porous media. Here we used nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) relaxation and time dependent self-diffusion measurements developed for porous media applications to monitor three dimensional changes to the vein network in ices with and without a bacterial ice binding protein (IBP). Shorter effective diffusion distances were detected as a function of increased irreversible ice binding activity, indicating inhibition of ice recrystallization and persistent small crystal structure. The modification of ice structure by the IBP demonstrates a potential mechanism for the microorganism to enhance survivability in ice. These results highlight the potential of NMR techniques in evaluation of the impact of IBPs on vein network structure and recrystallization processes; information useful for continued development of ice-interacting proteins for biotechnology applications. © 2014 The Authors.

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Biotechnology Reports

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