Influence of an external electric field on removal of protein fouling on a stainless steel surface by proteolytic enzymes

Ei Ei Htwe, Yuhi Nakama, Hiroyuki Imanaka, Naoyuki Ishida, Koreyoshi Imamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Enzymatic cleaning is a potentially useful method for removing proteinaceous fouling from solid surfaces under mild conditions. Herein, the influence of an external electric field on the enzymatic cleaning of a metal surface fouled with a protein was investigated. The model fouling protein (BSA; lysozyme) was prepared on a stainless steel (St) surface, and the resulting surface subjected to enzymatic cleaning with an electric potential being applied to the St plate. Trypsin, α-chymotrypsin, and thermolysin were used as model proteases. The amounts of protein remaining on the plate before and during the cleaning process were measured by means of a reflection absorption technique using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. In the case for BSA fouling, the cleaning efficiency of the protease tended to increase at more negative applied potentials. Whereas, there was an optimum applied potential for removing the lysozyme fouling. Atomic force microscopy analyses indicated that applying an adequate range of electric potential enhanced the enzymatic removal of protein fouling inside scratches on the St plate surface. These findings suggest the existence of two modes of electrostatic interactions for the external electric field, one with protease molecules and the other with digested fragments of the fouling protein.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-124
Number of pages7
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2017


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Electric potential
  • Enzymatic cleaning
  • Protein fouling
  • Stainless steel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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