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Biomacromolecules. 2005 Nov-Dec;6(6):3267-75.

Physical gelation of chitosan in the presence of beta-glycerophosphate: the effect of temperature.

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  • 1CREPEC, Department of Chemical Engineering, Ecole Polytechnique, P.O. Box 6079, Station Centre-Ville, Montreal, QC, H3C 3A7, Canada.

Abstract

When adding beta-glycerophosphate (beta-GP), a weak base, to chitosan aqueous solutions, the polymer remains in solution at neutral pH and room temperature, while homogeneous gelation of this system can be triggered upon heating. It is therefore one of the rare true physical chitosan hydrogels. In this study, physicochemical and rheological properties of chitosan solutions in the presence of acetic acid and beta-GP were investigated as a function of temperature in order to gain a better understanding of the gelation mechanisms. The gel structure formed at high temperature was only partially thermoreversible upon cooling to 5 degrees C because of the existence of remaining associations, confirmed by the spontaneous recovery of the gel after breakup at low temperature. Increasing temperature had no effect on the pH values of this system, while conductivity (and calculated ionic strength) increased. Values from the pH measurements were used to estimate the degree of protonation of each species as a function of temperature. The decreasing ratio of -NH3+ in chitosan and -OPO(O-)2 in beta-GP suggested reduced chitosan solubility along with a diminution of ionic interactions such as ionic bridging with increasing temperature. On the other hand, the increased ionic strength as a function of temperature, in the presence of beta-GP, enhanced screening of electrostatic repulsion and increased hydrophobic effect, resulting in favorable conditions for gel formation. Therefore, our study suggests that hydrophobic interactions and reduced solubility are the main driving force for chitosan gelation at high temperature in the presence of beta-GP.

PMID:
16283755
DOI:
10.1021/bm050313s
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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