Kaido Siimon will defend his doctoral thesis titled "Electrospun gelatin cross-linked by glucose" on 30. August 2016 at 12.15 at W. Ostwaldi 1, room B103.
Martin Järvekülg, Institute of Physics, University of Tartu
Uno Mäeorg, Institute of Chemistry, University of Tartu
Ivo Laidmäe, Institute of Pharmacy, University of Tartu
Tekla Tammelin, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Nano-structured biodegradable materials can be used in several applications, including regenerative medicine and biology, and as bioplastics - an environment-friendly replacement to plastics. Gelatin is a protein derived by hydrolysis from collagen, a naturally occurring protein most abundant in connective tissue. Therefore, gelatin is totally natural and can be used to prepare biodegradable, biocompatible nanostructured materials, which are durable enough to be used as fabrics in everyday life. Gelatin fabrics were prepared by electrospinning. However, electrospun gelatin is water-soluble and must be cross-linked to make it usable. The current dissertation is based on the discovery that electrospun gelatin fibres can be thermally cross-linked by glucose at 170°. Average fibre diameter varied from 200 nm to 700 nm depending on the concentration of the electrospinning solution. Easy to handle fabrics can be obtained from gelatin-glucose blends containing up to 15% glucose. The extent of cross-linking depends on glucose concentration and duration of thermal treatment. Maximum extent of cross-linking is reached after nearly 3 h of thermal treatment. It was found that cross-linking by glucose increases elastic modulus of electrospun gelatin. The addition of alum further increases mechanical strength of electrospun gelatin cross-linked by glucose. Preliminary short-term cell culture experiments indicate that electrospun gelatin cross-linked thermally by glucose is suitable for tissue engineering applications.