Enhancing The Mechanical Strength And Water Resilience Of Amylose And Gelatin-Based Electrospun Nanofibers Via Nontoxic Crosslinking With Genipin

Open Access
Wang, Jason Jie
Graduate Program:
Food Science
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
November 02, 2018
Committee Members:
  • Gregory R. Ziegler, Thesis Advisor
  • Ramaswamy C. Anantheswaran, Committee Member
  • Federico M Harte, Committee Member
  • Genipin
  • Crosslinking
  • Electrospinning
  • Wound Care
  • Biopolymers
  • Material Science
  • Wound Dressings
Every day, countless individuals sustain injuries or experience complications from various health conditions. When left untreated, these maladies can cause the formation of wounds; while the body is capable of recovery on its own, any hindrances to this process results in chronic wounds, which will further harm those who are afflicted. A wide range of polymer-based, protective, and healing-conducive products called wound dressings have been developed to eliminate or prevent such hindrances. Due to anticipated increases in demand for proper wound care and mounting environmental pressures from plastic waste, there has been an interest in developing revolutionary, innovative, versatile wound dressing designs made from biodegradable biopolymers such as amylose and gelatin, of which electrospun nanofibers are demonstrating the highest potential. However, electrospun nanofibers made from biopolymers tend to be neither mechanically strong nor resilient to water, both which are required for efficacy in wound healing. A process called crosslinking is used to rectify these problems; a reagent called genipin has been of especially high interest for this purpose, as it may be a viable alternative to toxic reagents already in use like glutaraldehyde. In this project, electrospun nanofibers were first produced from three different ratios of gelatin and Gelose-80 (80% amylose maize starch). They were then crosslinked in solutions containing three different concentrations of genipin, as well as one “control condition” in which no genipin was used for reference. The resultant crosslinked fibers are then subjected to physical tests to determine a range of physical properties, such as its appearance with respect to color (CIE L*a*b* values), mechanical strength (normalized force at break divided by mass), strain at break (% displacement divided by initial length), and water resilience (% Swell and % Loss). Linear Regression Analysis was used to determine whether varying amounts of gelatin and genipin contributed to the differences in these properties. CIE L*a*b* test results confirmed that reaction of genipin causes gelatin/amylose electrospun fiber mats to turn blue, and that the amount of genipin (p < 0.001) and gelatin (p = 0.021) used both directly affect the extent to which this phenomenon happens. However, further tests proved inconclusive; they showed no significant relationship between any extent of crosslinking of gelatin with genipin and the subsequent alteration of mechanical strength (p = 0.512 and p = 0.267 for genipin and gelatin, respectively), strain at break (p = 0.490 and p = 0.666 for genipin and gelatin, respectively), or for either metric of water resilience (% swelling: p = 0.601 and p = 0.619 for genipin and gelatin, respectively; % loss: p = 0.376 and p = 0.273 for genipin and gelatin, respectively) Some anomalies in the data may explain the high variance in the properties measured. To more decisively determine whether the crosslinking of electrospun gelatin/amylose fiber mats with genipin results in a mechanically stronger, more water-resilient wound dressing modifications to current procedures may be necessary.