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Andrea Zattoni

Associate Professor

Department of Chemistry "Giacomo Ciamician"

Academic discipline: CHIM/01 Analytical Chemistry


Keywords: Nano-biotechnology Field-flow fractionation Particle size distribution analysis Time-of-flight mass spectrometry Proteomics

Development and applications of field-flow fractionation (FFF) and related techniques: a) separation and characterization of macromolecules, nanoparticles and microparticles of biological, environmental or food origin; b) hyphenation with uncorrelated techniques for morphological analysis of nano and microdispersed analytes; c) miniaturized, disposable, biocompatible devices. Applications to 1) hyphenation with detection techniques such as chemiluminescence, laser scattering, and mass spectrometry; 2) characterization of intact proteins by FFF-MS: protein profiling in biological fluids and whole cells, characterization of recombinant protein drugs; 3) fractionation, size analysis and spectroscopical characterization of nanosystems of nano-biotechnological interest.

Analysis of nanoparticles: Synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials are the basis of future developments and applications of nanotechnologies, from electronics to biomedical technologies. The ability of hydrodynamic field FFF (FlFFF) for the analysis of nanodispersed analytes has been investigated in the fields of material science for nano-biotech applications. FlFFF has been, for instance, applied to the fractionation and size analysis of silica and titanium dioxide synthesized in the presence of fluorescent modifiers.  FlFFF showed able to control the synthesis of such multi-chromophoric structures, which have been then further characterized by using spectrometric and microscopic techniques. FlFFF has been also applied to fractionate functionalized carbon nanotubes (CNT). The project "LIGHT4HEALTH" (University Strategic Project - Junior, coordinator N. Zaccheroni) involves application of FlFFF coupled with multiangle laser scattering (MALS) detection for the analysis of fluorescent nanoparticles for applications in medicine.

Analysis of dispersed microparticles: In the framework of the project "STARCHitechture" (University Strategic Projects - Senior, coordinator P. Trost) FlFFF-MALS and gravitational FFF (GrFFF) are applied to the separation and characterization of starch granules and enzymatic degradation products from mutant cereals.

Protein analysis: In a formal cooperation agreement with Wyatt Technology Europe (Germany) FlFFF-MALS has been developed from an instrumental and methodological point of view for the analysis and characterization of serum lipoproteins. The original hyphenation of mass spectrometry and hollow-fiber (HF) FlFFF has been also developed for the analysis of intact proteins and protein complexes in native form. Functional recombinant protein drugs and complex protein samples such as whole human blood serum have been characterized.

In the framework of the locally coordinated project PRIN 2006 (Integration of novel separation and mass spectrometry technologies for third-generation proteomics, National coordinator Prof. G. Marino) , and of the Significant Research Project within the Bilateral Cooperation Protocol Italy-Korea 2007-2009, HF FlFFF and FlFFF-MALS are coupled with shot-gun proteomics techniques such as (nano/chip)LC-ESI(Ion-Trap)-MS/MS for the identification of native protein complexes in serum and sub-cellular fractions.


Immunological methods: in cooperation with the Group of Bioanalitical Chemistry at the Dept. of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Prof. A. Roda) new analytical formats are developed for flow-through immunometric methods. Use of flow-through CL detectors online coupled with the fractionation device (GrFFF-FIA-CL) allows to determine the analyte concentration by comparing the fractographic peak area with a proper response curve. Based on the intrinsic advantages of such an approach, a non-competitive immunoassay has been developed, which uses GrFFF-FIA-CL for the quantitation of whole cells (pathogenic bacteria).

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