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How Do Antifreeze Proteins Work?

Antifreeze proteins produced in some fish have hooked the attention of industry. But chemists are still casting inquiries into how these proteins act to prevent some species of flounder, cod, and sculpin from icing up in below-zero Centigrade water. RED HERRING: Although antifreeze proteins produced by the flounder are the most studied, they may be the least representative. Scientists at the 216th American Chemical Society Meeting in Boston last month trolled through the merits of a number of

Paul Smaglik

Antifreeze proteins produced in some fish have hooked the attention of industry. But chemists are still casting inquiries into how these proteins act to prevent some species of flounder, cod, and sculpin from icing up in below-zero Centigrade water.


RED HERRING: Although antifreeze proteins produced by the flounder are the most studied, they may be the least representative.
Scientists at the 216th American Chemical Society Meeting in Boston last month trolled through the merits of a number of mechanisms--including the role of hydrogen bonding, the interaction of the protein's structure with ice, and the possibilities of hydrophobic interaction between the protein and water. The forum failed to spawn a conclusive answer. "We are less certain of how it works now than we were 10 years ago," Garth L. Fletcher, president and CEO of A/F Protein Inc., a Canadian biotech firm with patents on naturally occurring antifreezes, told The Scientist...

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