Crystalline proteins, such as edestin or melon globulin, remove pepsin from solution. The pepsin protein is taken up as such and the quantity of protein taken up by the foreign protein is just equivalent to the peptic activity found in the complex. The formation of the complex depends on the pH and is at a maximum at pH 4.0.
An insoluble complex is formed and precipitates when pepsin and edestin solutions are mixed and the maximum precipitation is also at pH 4.0. The composition of the precipitate varies with the relative quantity of pepsin and edestin. It contains a maximum quantity of pepsin when the ratio of pepsin to edestin is about 2 to 1. This complex may consist of 75 per cent pepsin and have three-quarters of the activity of crystalline pepsin itself. The pepsin may be extracted from the complex by washing with cold N/4 sulfuric acid. If the complex is dissolved in acid solution at about pH 2.0 the foreign protein is rapidly digested and the pepsin protein is left and may be isolated.
The pepsin protein may be identified by its tyrosine plus tryptophane content, basic nitrogen content, crystalline form and specific activity.