The novel use of ionic liquid as a solvent for biodegradable and natural organic biomaterials has increasingly sparked interest in the biomedical field. As compared to more volatile traditional solvents that rapidly degrade the protein molecular weight, the capability of polysaccharides and proteins to dissolve seamlessly in ionic liquid and form fine and tunable biomaterials after regeneration is the key interest of this study. Here, a blended system consisting of Bombyx Mori silk fibroin protein and a cellulose derivative, cellulose acetate (CA), in the ionic liquid 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate (EMIMAc) was regenerated and underwent characterization to understand the structure and physical properties of the films. The change in the morphology of the biocomposites (by scanning electron microscope, SEM) and their secondary structure analysis (by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, FTIR) showed that the samples underwent a wavering conformational change on a microscopic level, resulting in strong interactions and changes in their crystalline structures such as the CA crystalline and silk beta-pleated sheets once the different ratios were applied. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) results demonstrated that strong molecular interactions were generated between CA and silk chains, providing the blended films lower glass transitions than those of the pure silk or cellulose acetate. All filmsmore »
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 more »
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