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J Agric Food Chem. 2018 Jan 10;66(1):177-186. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.7b04684. Epub 2017 Dec 26.

Preparation of a Strong Gelatin-Short Linear Glucan Nanocomposite Hydrogel by an in Situ Self-Assembly Process.

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College of Food Science and Engineering and ‡Central Laboratory, Qingdao Agricultural University Qingdao, Shandong Province 266109, China.


Gelatin hydrogels exhibit excellent biocompatibility, nonimmunogenicity, and biodegradability, but they have limited applications in the food and medical industries because of their poor mechanical properties. Herein, we first developed an in situ self-assembly process for the preparation of gelatin-short linear glucan (SLG) nanocomposite hydrogels with enhanced mechanical strength. The microstructure, dynamic viscoelasticity, compression behavior, and thermal characteristics of the gelatin-SLG nanocomposite hydrogels were determined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), dynamic rheological experiments, compression tests, and texture profile analysis tests. The SEM images revealed that nanoparticles were formed by the in situ self-assembly of SLG in the gelatin matrix and that the size of these nanoparticles ranged between 200 and 600 nm. The pores of the nanocomposite hydrogels were smaller than those of the pure gelatin hydrogels. Transmission electron microscopy images and X-ray diffraction further confirmed the presence of SLG nanoparticles with spherical shapes and B-type structures. Compared with pure gelatin hydrogels, the nanocomposite hydrogels exhibited improved mechanical behavior. Notably, the hardness and maximum values of the compressive stress of gelatin-SLG nanocomposites containing 5% SLG increased by about 2-fold and 3-fold, respectively, compared to the corresponding values of pure gelatin hydrogels.


gels; mechanical strength; nanoparticles; rheological properties; short chain amylose; starch

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