Skip to main content

Structure–Thermodynamic Relationship of a Polysaccharide Gel (Alginate) as a Function of Water Content and Counterion Type (Na vs Ca)

Author(s): Agles, Avery; Bourg, Ian C.

To refer to this page use:
Full metadata record
DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorAgles, Avery-
dc.contributor.authorBourg, Ian C.-
dc.description.abstractBiofilms are the predominant mode of microbial life on Earth, and so a deep understanding of microbial communities and their impacts on environmental processes requires a firm understanding of biofilm properties. Because of the importance of biofilms to their microbial inhabitants, microbes have evolved different ways of engineering and reconfiguring the matrix of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) that constitute the main non-living component of biofilms. This ability makes it difficult to distinguish between the biotic and abiotic origins of biofilm properties. An important route toward establishing this distinction has been the study of simplified models of the EPS matrix. This study builds on such efforts by using atomistic simulations to predict the nanoscale (≤10 nm scale) structure of a model EPS matrix and the sensitivity of this structure to interpolymer interactions and water content. To accomplish this, we use replica exchange molecular dynamics (REMD) simulations to generate all-atom configurations of ten 3.4 kDa alginate polymers at a range of water contents and Ca−Na ratios. Simulated systems are solvated with explicitly modeled water molecules, which allows us to capture the discrete structure of the hydrating water and to examine the thermodynamic stability of water in the gels as they are progressively dehydrated. Our primary findings are that (i) the structure of the hydrogels is highly sensitive to the identity of the charge-compensating cations, (ii) the thermodynamics of water within the gels (specific enthalpy and free energy) are, surprisingly, only weakly sensitive to cation identity, and (iii) predictions of the differential enthalpy and free energy of hydration include a shortranged enthalpic term that promotes hydration and a longer-ranged (presumably entropic) term that promotes dehydration, where short and long ranges refer to distances shorter or longer than ∼0.6 nm between alginate strands.en_US
dc.relation.ispartofThe Journal of Physical Chemistry Ben_US
dc.rightsFinal published version. Article is made available in OAR by the publisher's permission or policy.en_US
dc.titleStructure–Thermodynamic Relationship of a Polysaccharide Gel (Alginate) as a Function of Water Content and Counterion Type (Na vs Ca)en_US
dc.typeJournal Articleen_US

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
watercontent.pdf1.81 MBAdobe PDFView/Download

Items in OAR@Princeton are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.