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Development of an economical and green chromatographic system for lanthanide purification and Progress toward protein-polymer hybrids from estrogen receptors for the detection and removal of organic pollutants from water

  • Author(s): Moore, Troy
  • Advisor(s): Francis, Matthew B
  • et al.
Abstract

The expensive separation procedures necessary to produce pure metals have resulted in a small number of entities producing nearly all of global demand. Market control by only a few entities has, in turn, led to price instability. Increasing global consumption of lanthanide-based materials has highlighted the need for parity in lanthanide production. As more entities attempt to enter the market, they face the significant challenges of overcoming the financial and environmental costs of lanthanide separation. To address these obstacles, a new chromatographic system is created from a cheap, commercially available, and widely produced polystyrene resin. This resin was further synthetically modified by various methods, and chromatographic performance tested. One such synthetically modified resin was used as a new solid phase in a chromatographic system, which exhibits excellent separation of an industrially relevant lanthanide mixture. Furthermore, cost, operating conditions, and the waste stream of this system are extremely competitive with currently employed industrial methods.

The concentration of estrogenic compounds in fresh water sources and observed correlation with deleterious effects in wildlife has been met with increasing concern. As these estrogen concentrations grow, so does the need to detect estrogen concentrations in the field. A reusable protein-polymer conjugate composed of the estrogen receptor and synthetic polymers is proposed to meet this need. For use as the protein component, three different estrogen receptors have been expressed in E. coli. Two of these receptors have been successfully modified specifically at the C-terminus, and one at the N-terminus, with ketones to facilitate the attachment of the polymer component. A new monomer has also been synthesized. Further work in constructing and testing the material is underway.

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