The objective of this study was to understand how cosolvents influence the molecular and functional properties of globular proteins in aqueous solutions. The ultrasonic velocity, density and adiabatic compressibility of cosolvent solutions (0–50 wt% sorbitol or glycerol) were measured in the absence and presence of a globular protein (1 wt% β-lactoglobulin) at 30 °C. These measurements were used to calculate the partial specific apparent volume and adiabatic compressibility of the protein. The protein's volume decreased and its compressibility increased in the presence of high cosolvent concentrations, which were attributed to changes in the properties of the protein interior and solvation layer. Sorbitol was more effective than glycerol at decreasing the protein volume at high cosolvent concentrations, which may be because glycerol has some surface activity and may therefore accumulate around hydrophobic regions on the protein surface. Our data were used to account for the observation that sorbitol is more effective than glycerol at increasing the thermal stability and self-association of the β-lactoglobulin. A better understanding of the influence of protein–cosolvent–solvent interactions on the functionality of globular proteins may facilitate the design of protein-based products.
- Ultrasonic velocity,
- Adiabatic compressibility,
- Thermal denaturation,
- Surface tension,
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/djulian_mcclements/70/