Aqueous micelles of the multi-protein calcium phosphate complex, casein, were treated at 60 degrees C and pH 7 over several months. Although partial dissociation of the micelles into 12 nm sized amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP)/protein nanoparticles occurred within a period of 14 days, crystallization of the ACP nanoclusters into bundles of hydroxyapatite (HAP) nanofilaments was not observed until after 12 weeks. The HAP nanofilaments were formed specifically within the partially disrupted protein micelles suggesting a micelle-mediated pathway of mesoscale crystallization. Similar experiments using ACP-containing synthetic micelles prepared from beta-casein protein alone indicated that co-aligned bundles of HAP nanofilaments were produced within the protein micelle interior after 24 hours at temperatures as low as 35 degrees C. The presence of Mg(2+) ions in the casein micelles, as well as a possible synergistic effect associated with the multi-protein nature of the native aggregates, could account for the marked inhibition in mesoscale crystallization observed in the casein micelles compared with the single-component beta-casein constructs.
- REVERSE MICROEMULSIONS
- MEDIATED CRYSTALLIZATION