Precipitation of calcium palmitate from bile salt-containing dispersions

D. Lichtenberg*, E. Werker, A. Bor, S. Almog, S. Nir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Addition of calcium chloride to mixed micellar systems composed of sodium salts of palmitic acid and high concentrations of different bile acids results in precipitation of Ca(palmitate)2, only when the palmitate concentration exceeds a critical value, which is dependent on the concentrations of Ca2+, Na+ and bile salt, and on the type of bile salt used. All these dependencies, as well as the complex and interrelated effects of the various parameters on the kinetics of Ca(palmitate)2 precipitation are consistent with the following mechanism: (i) calcium binds to palmitate-bile salt mixed micelles and promotes their aggregation, at a rate governed by the concentration ratio between bound calcium and micelles (here denoted "binding ratio"). (ii) Ca(palmitate)2 precipitation occurs within the aggregate of micelles only if those micelles include sufficent amounts of Ca2+ and palmitate to allow for the formation of large enough crystal units of Ca(palmitate)2 which can serve as nucleation "seeds". Both the concentrations of micelles and Na+ have dual effects on the rate of precipitation. Increasing micelle concentration, by itself, accelerates aggregation but at the same time leads to a decrease of the binding ratio, thus reducing the rate of precipitation. Na+ which reduces the binding ratio through competitive binding also reduces the surface charge, thus assisting micelle aggregation. Our model also explains the facilitation of precipitation observed when phosphatidylcholine is contained in the palmitate-bile salt mixed micelles and the inhibitory effect of the water soluble bovine serum albumin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-243
Number of pages13
JournalChemistry and Physics of Lipids
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Oct 1988


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