Calf thymus DNA characterization and its adsorption on different silica surfaces
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DNA adsorption is the initial stage of gene therapy for drug delivery systems and solid phase extraction methods of DNA purification. High pore volume and high adsorption capacity are simple requirements not only for producing 'smart' drug delivery systems but also the development of purification kits. Silica is the most used material for this purpose. The present study aimed at elucidating the calf thymus DNA biosorption process by the characterization of calf thymus DNA and silica to increase the efficiency of the currently used silica material. Mesoporous silica has long been used for DNA adsorption and silica aerogel is the new adsorbent investigated in the present study. When DNA solution was freeze dried on a silica wafer, self-assembled super helices formed as shown by atomic microscopy (AFM). Thus DNA existed not as single molecules but as large sized agglomerates in water. Thus it could be adsorbed in the macropores and on the external surface of adsorbents. Adsorption of calf thymus DNA to a silica aerogel, a mesoporous silica gel and a silica wafer was investigated in the present study. Silica aerogel was synthesized from TEOS by a supercritical ethanol drying process. The DNA adsorption capacity of the silica aerogel was nearly two times that of the mesoporous silica gel due to its macroporous structure and its higher silanol content. Silica aerogel was found to be a very promising material for DNA adsorption. Therefore silica aerogel can be considered as a good candidate for the delivery of DNA.