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Abstract

A new approach of encapsulation of proteins in polyelectrolyte microcapsules has been developed using porous calcium carbonate microparticles as microsupports for layer-by-layer (LbL) polyelectrolyte assembling. Two different ways were used to prepare protein-loaded CaCO3 microparticles: (i) physical adsorption adsorption of proteins from the solutions onto preformed CaCO3 microparticles, and (ii) coprecipitation – protein capture by CaCO3 microparticles in the process of growth from the mixture of aqueous solutions of CaCl2 and Na2CO3. The latter was found to be about five times more effective than the former (∼100 vs ∼20 μg of captured protein per 1 mg of CaCO3). The procedure is rather mild; the revealed enzymatic activity of α-chymotrypsin captured initially by CaCO3 particles during their growth and then recovered after particle dissolution in EDTA was found to be about 85% compared to the native enzyme. Core decomposition and removal after assembly of the required number of polyelectrolyte layers resulted in release of protein into the interior of polyelectrolyte microcapsules (PAH/PSS)5 thus excluding the encapsulated material from direct contact with the surrounding. The advantage of the suggested approach is the possibility to control easily the concentration of protein inside the microcapsules and to minimize the protein immobilization within the capsule walls. Moreover, it is rather universal and may be used for encapsulation of a wide range of macromolecular compounds and bioactive species.