Electrophoresis experiments for space

Snyder, Robert S.; Rhodes, Percy H.
January 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 504 Issue 1, p568
Academic Journal
It has long been hoped that space could alleviate the problems of large-scale, high-capacity electrophoresis. Support media and reduced chamber dimensions of capillary electrophoresis have established the physical boundaries for Earth-based systems. Ideally, electrophoresis conducted in a virtual weightless environment in an unrestricted “free” fluid should have great potential. The electrophoresis and isoelectric focusing experiments done in the reduced gravity over the past twenty-five years have demonstrated the absence of thermal convection and sedimentation as well as the presence of electrohydrodynamics that requires careful control. One commercial venture produced gram amounts of an electrophoretically purified protein during seven Space Shuttle flights but the market disappeared in the six years between experiment conception and performance on the Space Shuttle. Our accumulated experience in microgravity plus theoretical models predict improvements that should be possible with electrophoresis if past problems are considered and both invention of new technologies and innovation of procedures on the Space Station are encouraged. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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