Importance of refrigeration time in the electrospinning of silk fibroin aqueous solutions
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Refrigeration is a common method for preserving reconstituted silk fibroin (RSF) aqueous solutions during electrospinning experiments, but the effects of preservation time at 4 °C are still not well documented. In this work, we explore its effects on the viscosity, refractive index, and density values of RSF solutions at 19 wt%. Also, extensive characterization of the mechanical properties and fiber diameters of the resulting electrospun meshes are provided. Significant differences were found in elongation, Young´s modulus, and ultimate strength at different experimental times, and an increase in the viscosity values of the RSF solutions was detected for the first 12 days of storage. These solutions exhibited a continuous, slow gelation throughout the time in storage at 4 °C, and this phenomenon improved the performance of electrospinning after a certain period of refrigeration. The protocol used reduces the production cost of SF fiber-based scaffolds and avoids the use of harsh solvents and additives which could otherwise limit their use in potential biomedical applications.
KeywordsRefrigeration Ultimate Strength Silk Fibroin Electrospun Fiber Fiber Size
The authors acknowledge financial support from the European Commission (FEDER/ERDF), the Spanish MINECO Projects (MAT2011-24973 and CICYT CTQ2011-25613), and the SÉNECA foundation (1195/PI/09). Dr. A. Abel Lozano-Pérez’s research contract was partially supported (80 %) by the FEDER Operative Program of the Region of Murcia 2007–2013.
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