Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 17

Search results for: cross-linker

17 Investigation on the Structure of Temperature-Responsive N-isopropylacrylamide Microgels Containing a New Hydrophobic Crosslinker

Authors: G. Roshan Deen, J. S. Pedersen


Temperature-responsive poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide) PNIPAM microgels crosslinked with a new hydrophobic chemical crosslinker was prepared by surfactant-mediated precipitation emulsion polymerization. The temperature-responsive property of the microgel and the influence of the crosslinker on the swelling behaviour was studied systematically by light scattering and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). The radius of gyration (Rg) and the hydrodynamic radius (Rh) of the microgels decreased with increase in temperature due to the volume phase transition from a swollen to a collapsed state. The ratio of Rg/Rh below the transition temperature was lower than that of hard-spheres due to the lower crosslinking density of the microgels. The SAXS data was analysed by a model in which the microgels were modelled as core-shell particles with a graded interface. The model at intermediate temperatures included a central core and a more diffuse outer layer describing pending polymer chains with a low crosslinking density. In the fully swollen state, the microgels were modelled with a single component with a broad graded surface. In the collapsed state they were modelled as homogeneous and relatively compact particles. The polymer volume fraction inside the microgel was also derived based on the model and was found to increase with increase in temperature as a result of collapse of the microgel to compact particles. The polymer volume fraction in the core of the microgel in the collapsed state was about 60% which is higher than that of similar microgels crosslinked with hydrophilic and flexible cross-linkers.

Keywords: microgels, SAXS, hydrophobic crosslinker, light scattering

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16 Borate Crosslinked Fracturing Fluids: Laboratory Determination of Rheology

Authors: Lalnuntluanga Hmar, Hardik Vyas


Hydraulic fracturing has become an essential procedure to break apart the rock and release the oil or gas which are trapped tightly in the rock by pumping fracturing fluids at high pressure down into the well. To open the fracture and to transport propping agent along the fracture, proper selection of fracturing fluids is the most crucial components in fracturing operations. Rheology properties of the fluids are usually considered the most important. Among various fracturing fluids, Borate crosslinked fluids have proved to be highly effective. Borate in the form of Boric Acid, borate ion is the most commonly use to crosslink the hydrated polymers and to produce very viscous gels that can stable at high temperature. Guar and HPG (Hydroxypropyl Guar) polymers are the most often used in these fluids. Borate gel rheology is known to be a function of polymer concentration, borate ion concentration, pH, and temperature. The crosslinking using Borate is a function of pH which means it can be formed or reversed simply by altering the pH of the fluid system. The fluid system was prepared by mixing base polymer with water at pH ranging between 8 to 11 and the optimum borate crosslinker efficiency was found to be pH of about 10. The rheology of laboratory prepared Borate crosslinked fracturing fluid was determined using Anton Paar Rheometer and Fann Viscometer. The viscosity was measured at high temperature ranging from 200ᵒF to 250ᵒF and pressures in order to partially stimulate the downhole condition. Rheological measurements reported that the crosslinking increases the viscosity, elasticity and thus fluid capability to transport propping agent.

Keywords: borate, crosslinker, Guar, Hydroxypropyl Guar (HPG), rheology

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15 Magnetic Cellulase/Halloysite Nanotubes as Biocatalytic System for Converting Agro-Waste into Value-Added Product

Authors: Devendra Sillu, Shekhar Agnihotri


The 'nano-biocatalyst' utilizes an ordered assembling of enzyme on to nanomaterial carriers to catalyze desirable biochemical kinetics and substrate selectivity. The current study describes an inter-disciplinary approach for converting agriculture waste, sugarcane bagasse into D-glucose exploiting halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) decorated cellulase enzyme as nano-biocatalytic system. Cellulase was successfully immobilized on HNTs employing polydopamine as an eco-friendly crosslinker while iron oxide nanoparticles were attached to facilitate magnetic recovery of material. The characterization studies (UV-Vis, TEM, SEM, and XRD) displayed the characteristic features of both cellulase and magnetic HNTs in the resulting nanocomposite. Various factors (i.e., working pH, temp., crosslinker conc., enzyme conc.) which may influence the activity of biocatalytic system were investigated. The experimental design was performed using Response Surface Methodology (RSM) for process optimization. Analyses data demonstrated that the nanobiocatalysts retained 80.30% activity even at elevated temperature (55°C) and excellent storage stabilities after 10 days. The repeated usage of system revealed a remarkable consistent relative activity over several cycles. The immobilized cellulase was employed to decompose agro-waste and the maximum decomposition rate of 67.2 % was achieved. Conclusively, magnetic HNTs can serve as a potential support for enzyme immobilization with long term usage, good efficacy, reusability and easy recovery from solution.

Keywords: halloysite nanotubes, enzyme immobilization, cellulase, response surface methodology, magnetic recovery

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14 Preparation and Characterization of Chitosan / Polyacrylic Acid / Ag-nanoparticles Composite Membranes

Authors: Abdel-Mohdy, A. Abou-Okeil, S. El-Sabagh, S. M. El-Sawy


Chitosan polyacrylic acid composite membranes were prepared by a bulk polymerization method in the presence of N, N'-methylene bisacrylamide (crosslinker) and ammonium persulphate as initiator. Membranes prepared from this copolymer in presence and absence of Ag nanoparticles were characterized by measuring mechanical and physical properties, water up-take and antibacterial properties. The results obtained indicated that the prepared membranes have antibacterial properties which increases with adding Ag nanoparticles.

Keywords: Ag nanoparticles , antimicrobial, Membrane, composites, mechanical properties, physical properties

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13 Synthesis and Characterization of Molecularly Imprinted Polymer as a New Adsorbent for the Removal of Pyridine from Organic Medium

Authors: Opeyemi Elujulo, Aderonke Okoya, Kehinde Awokoya


Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIP) for the adsorption of pyridine (PYD) was obtained from PYD (the template), styrene (the functional monomer), divinyl benzene (the crosslinker), benzoyl peroxide (the initiator), and water (the porogen). When the template was removed by solvent extraction, imprinted binding sites were left in the polymer material that are capable of selectively rebinding the target molecule. The material was characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and differential scanning calorimetry. Batch adsorption experiments were performed to study the adsorption of the material in terms of adsorption kinetics, isotherms, and thermodynamic parameters. The results showed that the imprinted polymer exhibited higher affinity for PYD compared to non-imprinted polymer (NIP).

Keywords: molecularly imprinted polymer, bulk polymerization, environmental pollutant, adsorption

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12 Synthesis, Characterization, and Evaluation of New Series of Oil Sorbers Based on Maleate Esters

Authors: Nora A. Hamad, Ayman M. Atta, Adel A. H. Abdel-Rahman


Two malice anhydride esters were prepared using long chain aliphatic alcohols (C8H17OH and C12H25OH, 1:1 mole ratio). Three series of crosslinked homo and copolymers of maleate esters with octadecyl acrylate and acrylic acid were prepared respectively through suspension copolymerization. The monomers were mixed with 0.02 Wt% of BP initiator, PVA 1% (170 ml for each 100g of monomers) and different weight ratios of DVB crosslinked (1% and 4%) in cyclohexane. The prepared crosslinked homo and copolymers were characterized by SEM, TGA and FTIR spectroscopic analyses. The prepared polymers were coated onto poly (ethylene terephethalate) nonwoven fiber (NWPET). The effect of copolymerization feed composition, crosslinker wt% and reaction media or solvent on swelling properties of crosslinked polymers were studied through the oil absorption tests in toluene and 10% of diluted crude oil with toluene.

Keywords: acrylic acid, crosslinked copolymers, maleate ester, poly(ethylene terephethalate) nonwoven fiber (NWPET), oil absorbency, octadecyl acrylat

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11 Adsorption of Iodine from Aqueous Solution on Modified Silica Gel with Cyclodextrin Derivatives

Authors: Raied, Badr, E. I. El-Shafey


Cyclodextrin (CD) derivatives (αCD, βCD, γCD and hp-βCD) were successfully immobilized on silica gel surface via epichlorohydrin as a crosslinker. The ratio of silica to CD was optimized in preliminary experiments based on the best performance of iodine adsorption capacity. Selected adsorbents with ratios of silica to CD derivatives, in this study, include Si-αCD (3:2), Si-βCD (4:1), Si-γCD (4:1) and Si-hp-βCD (4:1). The adsorption of iodine (I2/KI) solution was investigated in terms of initial pH, contact time, iodine concentration and temperature. No significant variations were noticed for iodine adsorption at different pH values; thus, initial pH 6 was selected for further studies. Equilibrium adsorption was reached faster on Si-hp-bCD than other adsorbents with kinetic adsorption data fitting well pseudo-second-order model. The activation energy (Eₐ) was found to be in the range of 12.7 - 23.4 kJ/mol. Equilibrium adsorption data were found to fit well the Langmuir adsorption model with lower uptake as temperature rises. Iodine uptake follows the order: Si-hp-βCD (714 mg/g) >Si-αCD (625 mg/g) >Si-βCD (555.6 mg/g)> Si-γCD (435 mg/g). A thermodynamic study showed that iodine adsorption is exothermic and spontaneous. Adsorbents reuse exhibited excellent performance for iodine adsorption with a decrease in iodine uptake of ~ 2- 4 % in the third adsorption cycle.

Keywords: adsorption, iodine, silica, cyclodextrin, functionalization, epichlorohydrin

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10 Physical Properties of Nano-Sized Poly-N-Isopropylacrylamide Hydrogels

Authors: Esra Alveroglu Durucu, Kenan Koc


In this study, we synthesized and characterized nano-sized Poly- N-isopropylacrylamide (PNIPAM) hydrogels. N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM) micro and macro gels are known as a thermosensitive colloidal structure, and they respond to changes in the environmental conditions such as temperature and pH. Here, nano-sized gels were synthesized via precipitation copolymerization method. N,N-methylenebisacrylamide (BIS) and ammonium persulfate APS were used as crosslinker and initiator, respectively. 8-Hydroxypyrene-1,3,6- trisulfonic Acid (Pyranine, Py) molecules were used for arranging the particle size and thus physical properties of the nano-sized hydrogels. Fluorescence spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy and light scattering methods were used for characterizing the synthesized hydrogels. The results show that the gel size was decreased with increasing amount of ionic molecule from 550 to 140 nm due to the electrostatic behavior of the ionic side groups of pyranine. Light scattering experiments demonstrate that lower critical solution temperature (LCST) of the gels shifts to the lower temperature with decreasing size of gel due to the hydrophobicity–hydrophilicity balance of the polymer chains.

Keywords: hydrogels, lower critical solution temperature, nanogels, poly(n-isopropylacrylamide)

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9 Immobilization Strategy of Recombinant Xylanase from Trichoderma reesei by Cross-Linked Enzyme Aggregates

Authors: S. Md. Shaarani, J. Md. Jahim, R. A. Rahman, R. Md. Illias


Modern developments in biotechnology have paved the way for extensive use of biocatalysis in industries. Although it offers immense potential, industrial application is usually hampered by lack of operational stability, difficulty in recovery as well as limited re-use of the enzyme. These drawbacks, however, can be overcome by immobilization. Cross-linked enzyme aggregates (CLEAs), a versatile carrier-free immobilization technique is one that is currently capturing global interest. This approach involves precipitating soluble enzyme with an appropriate precipitant and subsequent crosslinking by a crosslinking reagent. Without ineffective carriers, CLEAs offer high enzymatic activity, stability and reduced production cost. This study demonstrated successful CLEA synthesis of recombinant xylanase from Trichoderma reesei using ethanol as aggregating agent and glutaraldehyde (2% (v/v); 100 mM) as crosslinker. Effects of additives including proteic feeder such as bovine serum albumin (BSA) and poly-L-Lysine were investigated to reveal its significance in enhancing the performance of enzyme. Addition of 0.1 mg BSA/U xylanase showed considerable increment in CLEA development with approximately 50% retained activity.

Keywords: cross-linked, immobilization, recombinant, xylanase

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8 Preparation and Evaluation of siRNA Loaded Polymeric Nanoparticles

Authors: Riddhi Trivedi, Shrenik Shah


For Si RNA to be delivered various biodegradable polymers are trialed by many researchers. One of them is Chitosan (CS) nanoparticles which have been extensively studied for siRNA delivery but the stability and efficacy of such particles are highly dependent on the types of cross-linker used. Hence the attempts are made in this study with PGA To address this issue, three common cross-linkers; Ethylene glycol diacrylate (ED) and poly-D-glutamic acid (PGA) were used to prepare siRNA loaded CS-ED/PGA nanoparticles by ionic gelation method. The nanoparticles which were obtained were compared for its characterization in terms of its physicochemical properties i.e. particle size of the resultant particles, zeta potential, its encapsulation capacity in the polymer. Among all the formulations prepared with different crosslinker PGA siRNA had the smallest particle size (ranged from 120 ± 1.7 to 500 ± 10.9 nm) with zeta potential ranged from 22.1 ± 1.5 to +32.4 ± 0.5 mV, and high entrapment ( > 91%) and binding efficiencies. Similarly, CS-ED nanoparticles showed better siRNA protection during storage at 4˚C and as determined by serum protection assay. TEM micrographs revealed the assorted morphology of CS-PGA-siRNA nanoparticles in contrast to irregular morphology displayed by CS-ED-siRNA. All siRNA loaded nanoparticles were found to give initial burst release which after some time followed by a sustained release of siRNA which were loaded inside. All the formulations showed concentration-dependent cytotoxicity with when cytotoxicity performed by HeLa and normal vero cell lines.

Keywords: chitosan, siRNA, cytotoxicity, cell line study

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7 Synthesis and Characterization of an Aerogel Based on Graphene Oxide and Polyethylene Glycol

Authors: Javiera Poblete, Fernando Gajardo, Katherina Fernandez


Graphene, and its derivatives such as graphene oxide (GO), are emerging nanoscopic materials, with interesting physical and chemical properties. From them, it is possible to develop three-dimensional macrostructures, such as aerogels, which are characterized by a low density, high porosity, and large surface area, having a promising structure for the development of materials. The use of GO as a precursor of these structures provides a wide variety of materials, which can be developed as a result of the functionalization of their oxygenated groups, with specific compounds such as polyethylene glycol (PEG). The synthesis of aerogels of GO-PEG for non-covalent interactions has not yet been widely reported, being of interest due to its feasible escalation and economic viability. Thus, this work aims to develop a non-covalently functionalized GO-PEG aerogels and characterize them physicochemically. In order to get this, the GO was synthesized from the modified hummers method and it was functionalized with the PEG by polymer-assisted GO gelation (crosslinker). The gelation was obtained for GO solutions (10 mg/mL) with the incorporation of PEG in different proportions by weight. The hydrogel resulting from the reaction was subsequently lyophilized, to obtain the respective aerogel. The material obtained was chemically characterized by analysis of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Raman spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction (XRD), and its morphology by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images; as well as water absorption tests. The results obtained showed the formation of a non-covalent aerogel (FTIR), whose structure was highly porous (SEM) and with a water absorption values greater than 50% g/g. Thus, a methodology of synthesis for GO-PEG was developed and validated.

Keywords: aerogel, graphene oxide, polyethylene glycol, synthesis

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6 Synthesis and Characterization of Carboxymethyl Cellulose-Chitosan Based Composite Hydrogels for Biomedical and Non-Biomedical Applications

Authors: K. Uyanga, W. Daoud


Hydrogels have attracted much academic and industrial attention due to their unique properties and potential biomedical and non-biomedical applications. Limitations on extending their applications have resulted from the synthesis of hydrogels using toxic materials and complex irreproducible processing techniques. In order to promote environmental sustainability, hydrogel efficiency, and wider application, this study focused on the synthesis of composite hydrogels matrices from an edible non-toxic crosslinker-citric acid (CA) using a simple low energy processing method based on carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) and chitosan (CSN) natural polymers. Composite hydrogels were developed by chemical crosslinking. The results demonstrated that CMC:2CSN:CA exhibited good performance properties and super-absorbency 21× its original weight. This makes it promising for biomedical applications such as chronic wound healing and regeneration, next generation skin substitute, in situ bone regeneration and cell delivery. On the other hand, CMC:CSN:CA exhibited durable well-structured internal network with minimum swelling degrees, water absorbency, excellent gel fraction, and infra-red reflectance. These properties make it a suitable composite hydrogel matrix for warming effect and controlled and efficient release of loaded materials. CMC:2CSN:CA and CMC:CSN:CA composite hydrogels developed also exhibited excellent chemical, morphological, and thermal properties.

Keywords: citric acid, fumaric acid, tartaric acid, zinc nitrate hexahydrate

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5 Organic Co-Polymer Monolithic Columns for Liquid Chromatography Mixed Mode Protein Separations

Authors: Ahmed Alkarimi, Kevin Welham


Organic mixed mode monolithic columns were fabricated from; glycidyl methacrylate-co-ethylene dimethacrylate-co-stearyl methacrylate, using glycidyl methacrylate and stearyl methacrylate as co monomers representing 30% and 70% respectively of the liquid volume with ethylene dimethacrylate crosslinker and 2,2-dimethoxy-2-phenylacetophenone as the free radical initiator. The monomers were mixed with a binary porogenic solvent, comprising propan-1-ol, and methanol (0.825 mL each). The monolith was formed by photo polymerization (365 nm) inside a borosilicate glass tube (1.5 mm ID and 3 mm OD x 50 mm length). The monolith was observed to have formed correctly by optical examination and generated reasonable backpressure, approximately 650 psi at a flow rate of 0.2 mL min⁻¹ 50:50 acetonitrile: water. The morphological properties of the monolithic columns were investigated using scanning electron microscopy images, and Brunauer-Emmett-Teller analysis, the results showed that the monolith was formed properly with 19.98 ± 0.01 mm² surface area, 0.0205 ± 0.01 cm³ g⁻¹ pore volume and 6.93 ± 0.01 nm average pore size. The polymer monolith formed was further investigated using proton nuclear magnetic resonance, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The monolithic columns were investigated using high-performance liquid chromatography to test their ability to separate different samples with a range of properties. The columns displayed both hydrophobic/hydrophilic and hydrophobic/ion exchange interactions with the compounds tested indicating that true mixed mode separations. The mixed mode monolithic columns exhibited significant separation of proteins.

Keywords: LC separation, proteins separation, monolithic column, mixed mode

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4 Identification of the Best Blend Composition of Natural Rubber-High Density Polyethylene Blends for Roofing Applications

Authors: W. V. W. H. Wickramaarachchi, S. Walpalage, S. M. Egodage


Thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) is a multifunctional polymeric material which possesses a combination of excellent properties of parent materials. Basically, TPE has a rubber phase and a thermoplastic phase which gives processability as thermoplastics. When the rubber phase is partially or fully crosslinked in the thermoplastic matrix, TPE is called as thermoplastic elastomer vulcanizate (TPV). If the rubber phase is non-crosslinked, it is called as thermoplastic elastomer olefin (TPO). Nowadays TPEs are introduced into the commercial market with different products. However, the application of TPE as a roofing material is limited. Out of the commercially available roofing products from different materials, only single ply roofing membranes and plastic roofing sheets are produced from rubbers and plastics. Natural rubber (NR) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) are used in various industrial applications individually with some drawbacks. Therefore, this study was focused to develop both TPO and TPV blends from NR and HDPE at different compositions and then to identify the best blend composition to use as a roofing material. A series of blends by varying NR loading from 10 wt% to 50 wt%, at 10 wt% intervals, were prepared using a twin screw extruder. Dicumyl peroxide was used as a crosslinker for TPV. The standard properties for a roofing material like tensile properties tear strength, hardness, impact strength, water absorption, swell/gel analysis and thermal characteristics of the blends were investigated. Change of tensile strength after exposing to UV radiation was also studied. Tensile strength, hardness, tear strength, melting temperature and gel content of TPVs show higher values compared to TPOs at every loading studied, while water absorption and swelling index show lower values, suggesting TPVs are more suitable than TPOs for roofing applications. Most of the optimum properties were shown at 10/90 (NR/HDPE) composition. However, high impact strength and gel content were shown at 20/80 (NR/HDPE) composition. Impact strength, as being an energy absorbing property, is the most important for a roofing material in order to resist impact loads. Therefore, 20/80 (NR/HDPE) is identified as the best blend composition. UV resistance and other properties required for a roofing material could be achieved by incorporating suitable additives to TPVs.

Keywords: thermoplastic elastomer, natural rubber, high density polyethylene, roofing material

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3 Development, Characterization and Performance Evaluation of a Weak Cation Exchange Hydrogel Using Ultrasonic Technique

Authors: Mohamed H. Sorour, Hayam F. Shaalan, Heba A. Hani, Eman S. Sayed, Amany A. El-Mansoup


Heavy metals (HMs) present an increasing threat to aquatic and soil environment. Thus, techniques should be developed for the removal and/or recovery of those HMs from point sources in the generating industries. This paper reports our endeavors concerning the development of in-house developed weak cation exchange polyacrylate hydrogel kaolin composites for heavy metals removal. This type of composite enables desirable characteristics and functions including mechanical strength, bed porosity and cost advantages. This paper emphasizes the effect of varying crosslinker (methylenebis(acrylamide)) concentration. The prepared cation exchanger has been subjected to intensive characterization using X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and Brunauer Emmett and Teller (BET) method. Moreover, the performance was investigated using synthetic and real wastewater for an industrial complex east of Cairo. Simulated and real wastewater compositions addressed; Cr, Co, Ni, and Pb are in the range of (92-115), (91-103), (86-88) and (99-125), respectively. Adsorption experiments have been conducted in both batch and column modes. In general, batch tests revealed enhanced cation exchange capacities of 70, 72, 78.2 and 99.9 mg/g from single synthetic wastes while, removal efficiencies of 82.2, 86.4, 44.4 and 96% were obtained for Cr, Co, Ni and Pb, respectively from mixed synthetic wastes. It is concluded that the mixed synthetic and real wastewaters have lower adsorption capacities than single solutions. It is worth mentioned that Pb attained higher adsorption capacities with comparable results in all tested concentrations of synthetic and real wastewaters. Pilot scale experiments were also conducted for mixed synthetic waste in a fluidized bed column for 48 hour cycle time which revealed 86.4%, 58.5%, 66.8% and 96.9% removal efficiency for Cr, Co, Ni, and Pb, respectively with maximum regeneration was also conducted using saline and acid regenerants. Maximum regeneration efficiencies for the column studies higher than the batch ones about by about 30% to 60%. Studies are currently under way to enhance the regeneration efficiency to enable successful scaling up of the adsorption column.

Keywords: polyacrylate hydrogel kaolin, ultrasonic irradiation, heavy metals, adsorption and regeneration

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2 Green Synthesis of Nanosilver-Loaded Hydrogel Nanocomposites for Antibacterial Application

Authors: D. Berdous, H. Ferfera-Harrar


Superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) or hydrogels with three-dimensional hydrophilic network structure are high-performance water absorbent and retention materials. The in situ synthesis of metal nanoparticles within polymeric network as antibacterial agents for bio-applications is an approach that takes advantage of the existing free-space into networks, which not only acts as a template for nucleation of nanoparticles, but also provides long term stability and reduces their toxicity by delaying their oxidation and release. In this work, SAP/nanosilver nanocomposites were successfully developed by a unique green process at room temperature, which involves in situ formation of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) within hydrogels as a template. The aim of this study is to investigate whether these AgNPs-loaded hydrogels are potential candidates for antimicrobial applications. Firstly, the superabsorbents were prepared through radical copolymerization via grafting and crosslinking of acrylamide (AAm) onto chitosan backbone (Cs) using potassium persulfate as initiator and N,N’-methylenebisacrylamide as the crosslinker. Then, they were hydrolyzed to achieve superabsorbents with ampholytic properties and uppermost swelling capacity. Lastly, the AgNPs were biosynthesized and entrapped into hydrogels through a simple, eco-friendly and cost-effective method using aqueous silver nitrate as a silver precursor and curcuma longa tuber-powder extracts as both reducing and stabilizing agent. The formed superabsorbents nanocomposites (Cs-g-PAAm)/AgNPs were characterized by X-ray Diffraction (XRD), UV-visible Spectroscopy, Attenuated Total reflectance Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP), and Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA). Microscopic surface structure analyzed by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) has showed spherical shapes of AgNPs with size in the range of 3-15 nm. The extent of nanosilver loading was decreased by increasing Cs content into network. The silver-loaded hydrogel was thermally more stable than the unloaded dry hydrogel counterpart. The swelling equilibrium degree (Q) and centrifuge retention capacity (CRC) in deionized water were affected by both contents of Cs and the entrapped AgNPs. The nanosilver-embedded hydrogels exhibited antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. These comprehensive results suggest that the elaborated AgNPs-loaded nanomaterials could be used to produce valuable wound dressing.

Keywords: antibacterial activity, nanocomposites, silver nanoparticles, superabsorbent Hydrogel

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1 Immunoliposome-Mediated Drug Delivery to Plasmodium-Infected and Non-Infected Red Blood Cells as a Dual Therapeutic/Prophylactic Antimalarial Strategy

Authors: Ernest Moles, Patricia Urbán, María Belén Jiménez-Díaz, Sara Viera-Morilla, Iñigo Angulo-Barturen, Maria Antònia Busquets, Xavier Fernàndez-Busquets


Bearing in mind the absence of an effective vaccine against malaria and its severe clinical manifestations causing nearly half a million deaths every year, this disease represents nowadays a major threat to life. Besides, the basic rationale followed by currently marketed antimalarial approaches is based on the administration of drugs on their own, promoting the emergence of drug-resistant parasites owing to the limitation in delivering drug payloads into the parasitized erythrocyte high enough to kill the intracellular pathogen while minimizing the risk of causing toxic side effects to the patient. Such dichotomy has been successfully addressed through the specific delivery of immunoliposome (iLP)-encapsulated antimalarials to Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells (pRBCs). Unfortunately, this strategy has not progressed towards clinical applications, whereas in vitro assays rarely reach drug efficacy improvements above 10-fold. Here, we show that encapsulation efficiencies reaching >96% can be achieved for the weakly basic drugs chloroquine (CQ) and primaquine using the pH gradient active loading method in liposomes composed of neutrally charged, saturated phospholipids. Targeting antibodies are best conjugated through their primary amino groups, adjusting chemical crosslinker concentration to retain significant antigen recognition. Antigens from non-parasitized RBCs have also been considered as targets for the intracellular delivery of drugs not affecting the erythrocytic metabolism. Using this strategy, we have obtained unprecedented nanocarrier targeting to early intraerythrocytic stages of the malaria parasite for which there is a lack of specific extracellular molecular tags. Polyethylene glycol-coated liposomes conjugated with monoclonal antibodies specific for the erythrocyte surface protein glycophorin A (anti-GPA iLP) were capable of targeting 100% RBCs and pRBCs at the low concentration of 0.5 μM total lipid in the culture, with >95% of added iLPs retained into the cells. When exposed for only 15 min to P. falciparum in vitro cultures synchronized at early stages, free CQ had no significant effect over parasite viability up to 200 nM drug, whereas iLP-encapsulated 50 nM CQ completely arrested its growth. Furthermore, when assayed in vivo in P. falciparum-infected humanized mice, anti-GPA iLPs cleared the pathogen below detectable levels at a CQ dose of 0.5 mg/kg. In comparison, free CQ administered at 1.75 mg/kg was, at most, 40-fold less efficient. Our data suggest that this significant improvement in drug antimalarial efficacy is in part due to a prophylactic effect of CQ found by the pathogen in its host cell right at the very moment of invasion.

Keywords: immunoliposomal nanoparticles, malaria, prophylactic-therapeutic polyvalent activity, targeted drug delivery

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