Skip to main content

Transport effects on surface–volume biological reactions


 Many cellular reactions involve a reactant in solution binding to or dissociating from a reactant confined to a surface. This is true as well for a BIAcoreTM, an optical biosensor that is widely used to study the interaction of biomolecules. In the flow cell of this instrument, one of the reactants is immobilized on a flat sensor surface while the other reactant flows past the surface. Both diffusion and convection play important roles in bringing the reactants into contact. Usually BIAcoreTM binding data are analyzed using well known expressions that are valid only in the reaction-limited case when the Damköhler number Da is small. Asymptotic and singular perturbation techniques are used to analyze dissociation of the bound state when Da is small and O(1). Linear and nonlinear integral equations result from the analysis; explicit and asymptotic solutions are constructed for physically realizable cases. In addition, effective rate constants are derived that illustrate the effects of transport on the measured rate constants. All these expressions provide a direct way to estimate the rate constants from BIAcoreTM binding data.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Additional information

Received 11 May 1998 / Revised version: 29 March 1999

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Edwards, D., Goldstein, B. & Cohen, D. Transport effects on surface–volume biological reactions. J Math Biol 39, 533–561 (1999).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

  • Key words: Biomolecular reactions
  • Rate constants
  • Singular perturbations
  • Asymptotics
  • Integral equations