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Title: Dual-Crystallizable Silk Fibroin/Poly(L-lactic Acid) Biocomposite Films: Effect of Polymer Phases on Protein Structures in Protein-Polymer Blends
Biopolymer composites based on silk fibroin have shown widespread potential due to their brilliant applications in tissue engineering, medicine and bioelectronics. In our present work, biocomposite nanofilms with different special topologies were obtained through blending silk fibroin with crystallizable poly(L-lactic acid) (PLLA) at various mixture rates using a stirring-reflux condensation blending method. The microstructure, phase components, and miscibility of the blended films were studied through thermal analysis in combination with Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and Raman analysis. X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscope were also used for advanced structural analysis. Furthermore, their conformation transition, interaction mechanism, and thermal stability were also discussed. The results showed that the hydrogen bonds and hydrophobic interactions existed between silk fibroin (SF) and PLLA polymer chains in the blended films. The secondary structures of silk fibroin and phase components of PLLA in composites vary at different ratios of silk to PLLA. The β-sheet content increased with the increase of the silk fibroin content, while the glass transition temperature was raised mainly due to the rigid amorphous phase presence in the blended system. This results in an increase in thermal stability in blended films compared to the pure silk fibroin films. This study provided detailed insights into the influence of synthetic polymer phases (crystalline, rigid amorphous, and mobile amorphous) on protein secondary structures through blending, which has direct applications on the design and fabrication of novel protein–synthetic polymer composites for the biomedical and green chemistry fields.  more » « less
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International Journal of Molecular Sciences
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Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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