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Biodegradable nanofibrous membrane of zein/silk fibroin by electrospinning

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BACKGROUND: Electrospinning of natural polymers offers a promising approach to generate nanofibers with a similar fibrillar structure to that of native extracellular matrix. In the present work, zein/silk fibroin (SF) blends were electrospun with formic acid as solvent to fabricate bicomponent nanofibrous scaffolds for biomedical applications.

RESULTS: The zein/SF electrospun nanofibers had a smaller diameter and narrower diameter distribution than pure zein nanofibers, and the average diameter gradually decreased from 265 to 230 nm with increasing SF content in the blend. The predominant presence of α‐helix zein structure and random coil form of silk I in blend fibrous membranes was confirmed from Fourier transform infrared spectral and wide‐angle X‐ray diffraction data, while conversion to the β‐sheet structure of SF was also detected. The tensile strength of the zein/SF fibrous membranes was improved as the content of SF in the blend fibers increased. A preliminary study of in vitro degradation and cytotoxicity evaluated by MTT assay indicated that biodegradable zein/SF fibrous membranes did not induce cytotoxic effects in an L929 mouse fibroblast system.

CONCLUSION: Biodegradable zein/SF fibrous membranes with good mechanical properties and cytocompatibility combine the beneficial characteristics of the individual components and may be useful for biomedical applications. Copyright © 2009 Society of Chemical Industry
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Keywords: biodegradable; electrospinning; nanofibers; silk fibroin; zein

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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