Efficacy of an Antifreeze Protein from the Longhorn Beetle Rhagium mordax
Antifreeze proteins (AFPs) are characterized by their ability to protect organisms from subfreezing temperatures by preventing tiny ice crystals in solution from growing as the solution is cooled below its freezing temperature. This inhibition of ice growth is called antifreeze activity, and in particular, certain insect AFPs show very high antifreeze activity. Recent studies have shown AFPs to be promising candidates as green and environmentally benign inhibitors for gas hydrate formation. Here we show that an insect antifreeze protein from the longhorn beetle, Rhagium mordax (RmAFP1), the most potent protein yet found for freezing inhibition, can inhibit methane hydrates as effectively as the synthetic polymeric inhibitor polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP). In high pressure rocking cell experiments, onset hydrate nucleation temperatures and growth profiles showed repeatable results. RmAFP1 clearly showed inhibition of hydrates compared to amino acids (l-valine and l-threonine) and the protein bovine serum albumin (BSA). This indicates that proteins or amino acids do not generally inhibit hydrate formation. The promising performance of RmAFP1 as a new green kinetic hydrate inhibitor could further the development and increased production of green hydrate inhibitors.
Energy and Fuels, 2014, Vol 28, Issue 6, p. 3666-3672