End of Summer Report

Throughout the course of my summer, I have been conducting research under my mentor Dr. Elmer-Rico Mojica where I have been studying and learning a lot about sol-gel materials. I began my literary research with Dr. Mojica’s previously published papers. I had already known about the sol-gel process because it is used for the creation of glass and ceramic materials. In this process, the solution evolves into a gel that contains both a liquid and a solid phase. With the help of Dr. Mojica, I was able to create a xerogel, a type of gel prepared through drying slowly at room temperature resulting in glass like structure that shrinks in time. The idea of the study is to use this technique to encapsulate biological materials like proteins and enzymes.

In our experiment, the sol solution was prepared by mixing 3.5 mL tetramethyl orthosilicate (TMOS), 0.75mL of deionized water and 0.2 mL of 0.04 M HCL. The mixture of sonicated for 30 minutes to obtain the sol solution.

In order to test the activity of the enzyme, lipase was encapsulated in a sol-gel material. Its behavior was monitored using spectroscopic methods such as absorbance and fluorescence. A wider absorbance and fluorescence spectra was observed in encapsulated enzyme in comparison to the free form enzyme. This means that a heterogeneous environment is observed in the encapsulated due to the interaction of the enzyme within the xerogel. For the fall semester, I will be expanding on my research project by looking at how the activity of the enzyme are affected by the encapsulation process.

Before I present a poster of my work at the ACS National Meeting in Philadelphia in Spring 2020, I will be encapsulating other enzymes such as catalase, glucose oxidase and laccase.

Blog #2: Monitoring the behavior and activity of enzymes immobilized in sol-gel materials

Throughout the course of my summer, I have been conducting research under my mentor Dr. Elmer-Rico Mojica where I have been studying and learning a lot about sol-gel materials. I began my literary research with Dr. Mojica’s previously published papers. I had already known about the sol-gel process because it is used for the creation of glass and ceramic materials. In this process, the solution evolves into a gel that contains both a liquid and a solid phase. With the help of Dr. Mojica, I was able to create a sol-gel solution.

In our experiment, the sol solution was prepared by mixing 3.5 mL tetramethyl orthosilicate (TMOS), 0.75mL of deionized water and 0.2 mL of 0.04 M HCL. The mixture of sonicated for 30 minutes to obtain the sol solution.

Further work entails testing the activity of the enzyme. I will be encapsulating lipase in a sol-gel material and presently looking at its behavior using spectroscopic methods such as absorbance and fluorescence. I am looking forward in encapsulating other enzymes such as catalase, glucose oxidase and laccase.

 

Blog 1: Monitoring the behavior and activity of enzymes immobilize in sol-gel materials

     The title of my project is “Monitoring the behavior and activity of enzymes immobilize in sol-gel materials.” The sol–gel process is a method for producing glass-like solid materials from small molecules. In this process, we will prepare materials with enzymes enclosed inside and determine its behavior and activity which will be compared with that of free enzyme (in solution).
     The first thing that I will do is to gather literature on the status of research. With the information obtained from literature, we will select the reagents to be used to prepare the sol-gel material and the enzyme to be use. ​The basis of selecting the enzyme is based on its activity with a certain chemicals. We will look at one where by immobilizing or trapping it in the sol-gel material, it will be useful to act against the target chemical.  After we do this, we will prepare the materials in the lab and test the activity of the enzyme.