NMR Water Relaxation, Water Activity and – Bacterial Survival in Porous Media

NMR Water Relaxation, Water Activity and – Bacterial Survival in Porous Media

NMR Water Relaxation, Water Activity and – Bacterial Survival in Porous Media

Abstract

Polycrystalline ice, as found in glaciers and the ice sheets of Antarctica, is a low porosity porous media consisting of a complicated and dynamic pore structure of liquid-filled intercrystalline veins within a solid ice matrix. In this work, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance measurements of relaxationrates and molecular diffusion, useful for probing pore structure and transport dynamics in porous systems, were used to physically characterize the unfrozen vein network structure in ice and its response to the presence of metabolic products produced by V3519-10, a cold tolerant microorganism isolated from the Vostok ice core. Recent research has found microorganisms that can remain viable and even metabolically active within icy environments at sub-zero temperatures. One potential mechanism of survival for V3519-10 is secretion of an extracellular ice binding protein that binds to the prism face of ice crystals and inhibits ice recrystallization, a coarsening process resulting in crystal growth with ice aging. Understanding the impact of ice binding activity on the bulk vein network structure in ice is important to modeling of frozen geophysical systems and in development of ice interacting proteins for biotechnology applications, such as cryopreservation of cell lines, and manufacturing processes in food sciences. Here, we present the first observations of recrystallization inhibition in low porosity ice containing V3519-10 extracellular protein extract as measured with Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

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