About this Research Topic
The phase separation of incompatible liquids has been a topic of significant importance in chemical and industrial engineering for many years. Well-understood examples of this phenomenon include the phase separation of oil with water and the phase separation of non-polar organic solvents with water. Similar behavior is observed when aqueous solutions of two or more incompatible polymers or polymers and salts are mixed. In these mixtures (referred to as aqueous two-phase systems), the separated phases are composed mostly of water. Aqueous two-phase systems have been used extensively for the extraction of high-value biological products from mixtures of biological materials.
In recent years, aqueous two-phase systems have also found increased use as materials for streamlining and improving the capabilities of cell and molecular assays, and for the design of advanced cell culture systems. Similar behavior of biological materials in living systems has also been observed, with emerging roles in cell physiology. In this Research Topic, we welcome Reviews and Original Research Articles focused on improving our understanding of liquid-liquid phase separation of aqueous solutions in both living and non-living systems, as well as cutting-edge applications of these materials in separation/extraction, assay-development, microencapsulation and other topics related to biotechnology and bioengineering.
Specifically, we welcome studies focused on:
• Fundamental physicochemical processes determining phase separation among aqueous solutions.
• Analytical approaches for characterizing and interpreting phase separation processes.
• Experimental and/or modeling studies aimed at elucidating the partition of molecules and particles within phase-separating aqueous solutions.
• Applications of phase-separating aqueous solutions for improving and/or streamlining biochemical and molecular assays.
• Advanced liquid-handling technologies applied to phase-separating aqueous solutions.
• Application of phase-separating aqueous solutions for development of advanced cell culture systems.
• Development of novel biomaterials or drug delivery vehicles based on phase-separating aqueous solutions.
• Identification and/or elucidation of liquid-liquid phase separation processes in living systems.
• Applications of phase-separating aqueous solutions in synthetic biology and for the development of artificial cells.
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.