Source of Founding: Polish National Science Center (NCN), PRELUDIUM grant
Duration: 3 years
Manager/ Principal Investigator: Judyta Dulnik, M.Sc.
The main objective of the project is to determine the optimal method of crosslinking of the polycaprolactone nanofibers with the addition of gelatin electrospun from alternative solvents for use of this type of biomaterials in tissue engineering. Pursuing this goal will enable the broadening of knowledge on the effect of crosslinking on the structure and properties of complex material systems, such as bicomponent nanofibres PCL/gelatin from alternative solvents.
Application of mixture of acetic acid and formic acid as a solvent, reduces production cost and eliminates the use of highly toxic perfluorinated alcohols such as 1,1,1,3,3,3-hexafluoro-2-propanol and 2,2,2-trifluoroethanol, however, the structure of polymer solution becomes noticeably emulsive (project OPUS). This results in non-uniform distribution of individual components in the fibre, what as it has been confirmed by preliminary biodegradation study induces faster leaching of gelatin from fibres in an environment of a living organism. The need to stabilize gelatin in bicomponent fibres requires the use of proper crosslinking agent. Systematic studies on crosslinked nanofibres made from polycaprolactone and gelatin will determine the most effective crosslinking conditions, what will enable the process of gelatin leaching to slow down. This will ensure good functioning of the biomaterial in its destination site, by maintaining its initial material properties, throughout a long time perspective. The studies of crosslinking process will also help improve, as well as optimize material’s mechanical properties for medical purposes.
Significance of the project for science/ Motivation
The main outcome of the project will be determination of the optimal method of crosslinking bicomponent PCL/gelatin nanofibers electrospun from alternative solvents, from the perspective of the use of this type of material in tissue engineering. The results of the project will solve a serious problem occurring in this material system, which is the loss of biopolymer (gelatin) in an environment of a living organism. In the case of bicomponent fibers from alternative solvents, there are no articles describing an effect of crosslinking conditions on the rate of degradation of the gelatin. Considering bicomponent nanofibers, there can be found very little information about attempts of their crosslinking. Because of the unquestionable advantages of the use of cheaper, non-toxic solvents for electrospinning of bicomponent fibers with an addition of gelatin, work in this area is necessary for the progress of tissue engineering. Expected results of the experiments scheduled in the project are intended to provide medicine with new type of scaffold material whose functionality exceeds any of the currently available on the market.