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Characterizing Hyaluronic Acid : The Fountain of Youth

15 July 2014 No Comment

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Hyaluronic Acid Analysis

As I am new to blogging I think a brief introduction would be good. My name is John Stenson, I am the Product Technical Specialist looking after the Size Exclusion Chromatography (SEC) related detector systems, known as our Viscotek product line. I am most interested in using our technologies to investigate the properties of Proteins and Biopolymers.

My role is extremely varied with one of the most enjoyable aspects attending conferences,  presenting exciting new research we have carried out and talking with other scientists. As part of this I was lucky enough to attend the PolyChar 22 conference in Stellenbosch, South Africa a couple of months back. Having done my Post Doc in Biochemical Engineering at the University of Cape Town I was already aware of what a beautiful country South Africa is.

Characterizing Hyaluronic AcidFor this conference I gave a presentation on the “Characterization of Hyaluronic Acid by Static, Dynamic and Electrophoretic Light Scattering”. As you can tell by the title this was an extremely broad topic to try and cover in 20 minutes!

Some have  referred to Hyaluronic Acid as the beauty molecule or even the ‘fountain of youth’ thanks to its anti-ageing properties.  It is a very interesting material to study due the important role it plays in the structural and mechanical support of the skin, tendons, muscles and cartilage which mean it is a very useful material for use in the chemical, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry.  To prolong the lifespan of the Hyaluronic Acid in the body and improve its mechanical properties it is necessary for it to be derivatised or cross-linked. The Malvern Gel Permeation Chromatography (GPC) and Zetasizer Nano instruments can be used to provide information about this process, the extent of modification, and the effect it has on the stability of the final product.

Due to my expertise the majority of the talk covered multi-detection SEC where we can use our Triple or Tetra detection Array (TDAmax) system to measure the Absolute Molecular Weight of materials independent of column retention volume. As well as this the use of an online differential viscometer allowed measurements of the intrinsic viscosity and therefore the molecular density of our samples. Interesting and subtle differences were observed for cross-linked Hyaluronic Acid samples where an increase in the density of the sample was recorded in the higher molecular weight region. As well as this I presented work using other batch light scattering technologies (DLS and ELS) which showed how we can measure the stability of Hyaluronic acid solutions.

Overall it was a very successful conference which gave me the opportunity to meet many exciting scientists and hear what they are doing in polymer characterization.

Further Information

Recorded webinar: The Science of Beauty – Characterizing Hyaluronic Acid – the molecule behind anti-aging creams.

Article: Investigating the Molecular Weight and Structureof Linear and Cross-Linked Hyaluronic Acid bySEC-MALS and SEC-Triple Detection

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