Grafting a dense layer of soluble polymers onto a surface is a well-established method for controlling protein adsorption. In the present study, polyethylene oxide (PEO) layers of three different grafting densities were prepared, i.e. 10-15 nm2, 5.5 nm2 and 4 nm2 per polymer chain, respectively. The adsorption of different proteins on the PEO grafted surfaces was measured in real time by reflectometry. Furthermore, the change of the zeta-potential of such surfaces resulting from adsorption of the proteins was determined using the streaming potential method. Both the protein adsorption and the zeta-potential were monitored for 1 h after exposure of the protein solution to the surface. The adsorption pattern for a mixture of saliva proteins was compared to those observed for a number of well-defined model-proteins (lysozyme, human serum albumin, beta-lactoglobulin and ovalbumin). The results of the adsorption kinetics and streaming potential measurements indicate that the effect of the PEO layer on protein adsorption primarily depends on the size and the charge of the protein molecules. The saliva proteins are strongly blocked for adsorption, whereas the change in the zeta-potential is larger than for the other proteins (except lysozyme). It is concluded that positively charged protein molecules, having dimensions larger than those of lysozyme, are involved in the initial stage of adsorption from saliva onto a negatively charged surface.
- polystyrene particles
- enamel pellicle