Most enzymes are highly sensitive to UV-light in all of its ranges and their activity can irreversibly drop even after a short time of exposure. Here we report a solution of this problem by using sol-gel matrices as effective protectors against this route of enzyme inactivation and denaturation. The concept presented here utilizes several modes of action: First, the entrapment within the rigid ceramic sol-gel matrix, inhibits denaturation motions, and the hydration shell around the entrapped protein provides extra protection. Second, the matrix itself - alumina in this report - absorbs UV light. And third, sol-gel materials have been shown to be quite universal in their ability to entrap small molecules, and so co-entrapment with well documented sun-screening molecules (2-hydroxybenzophenone, 2,2'-dihydroxybenzophenone, and 2,2'-dihydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone) is an additional key protective tool. Three different enzymes as models were chosen for the experiments: carbonic anhydrase, acid phosphatase and horseradish peroxidase. All showed greatly enhanced UV (regions UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C) stabilization after entrapment within the doped sol-gel alumina matrices.
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