Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

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

A Bacterial Foraging Optimization Algorithm Applied to the Synthesis of Polyacrylamide Hydrogels

The Bacterial Foraging Optimization (BFO) algorithm is inspired by the behavior of bacteria such as Escherichia coli or Myxococcus xanthus when searching for food, more precisely the chemotaxis behavior. Bacteria perceive chemical gradients in the environment, such as nutrients, and also other individual bacteria, and move toward or in the opposite direction to those signals. The application example considered as a case study consists in establishing the dependency between the reaction yield of hydrogels based on polyacrylamide and the working conditions such as time, temperature, monomer, initiator, crosslinking agent and inclusion polymer concentrations, as well as type of the polymer added. This process is modeled with a neural network which is included in an optimization procedure based on BFO. An experimental study of BFO parameters is performed. The results show that the algorithm is quite robust and can obtain good results for diverse combinations of parameter values.

Hydrogel Based on Cellulose Acetate Used as Scaffold for Cell Growth

A hydrogel from cellulose acetate cross linked with ethylenediaminetetraacetic dianhydride (HAC-EDTA) was synthesized by our research group, and submitted to characterization and biological tests. Cytocompatibility analysis was performed by confocal microscopy using human adipocyte derived stem cells (ASCs). The FTIR analysis showed characteristic bands of cellulose acetate and hydroxyl groups and the tensile tests evidence that HAC-EDTA present a Young’s modulus of 643.7 MPa. The confocal analysis revealed that there was cell growth at the surface of HAC-EDTA. After one day of culture the cells presented spherical morphology, which may be caused by stress of the sequestration of Ca2+ and Mg2+ ions at the cell medium by HAC-EDTA, as demonstrated by ICP-MS. However, after seven days and 14 days of culture, the cells present fibroblastoid morphology, phenotype expected by this cellular type. The results give efforts to indicate this new material as a potential biomaterial for tissue engineering, in the future in vivo approach.

Evaluation of TRIS-DMA-NVP Hydrogels for Making Silicone-Based Contact Lenses

In this study, contact lenses were prepared through the polymerization of tris-(trimethyl-silyl-propyl-methacrylate) (TRIS), N,N-dimethylacrylamide (DMA), N-vinylpyrrolidone (NVP), and cross-linked with ethylene glycol dimethylacrylate (EGDMA). The equilibrium water content (EWC), oxygen permeability (Dk), light transmittance, and in vitro cytotoxicity of TRIS-DMA-NVP with various ratios were measured. The results showed that the EWC increased while the Dk decreased with the increase of NVP content. For the sample with 25 wt% NVP, the EWC attained 53% whereas the Dk decreased to 46 barrers. All these lenses exhibited light transmittance over than 95%. In addition, all these lenses exhibited no inhibition to the growth of L292 fibroblasts. Thus, this study showed that TRIS-DMA-NVP can be applicable for making contact lens.

Mass Transfer of Paracetamol from the Crosslinked Carrageenan-Polyvinyl Alcohol Film
In this research, carrageenan extracted from seaweed Eucheuma cottonii was mixed with polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and then crosslinked using glutaraldehyde (GA). The obtained hydrogel films were applied to control the drug release rate of paracetamol. The aim of this research was to develop a mathematical model that can be used to describe the mass transfer rate of paracetamol from the hydrogel film into buffer solution. The effect of weight ratio carrageenan-PVA (5: 0, 1: 0.5, 1: 1, 1: 2, 0: 5) on the parameters of the mathematical model was investigated also. Based on the experimental data, the proposed mathematical model could describe the mass transfer rate of paracetamol. The weight ratio of carrageenan-PVA greatly affected the amount of paracetamol absorbed in the hydrogel film and the mass transfer rate of paracetamol.
Design and Fabrication of a Scaffold with Appropriate Features for Cartilage Tissue Engineering
Poor ability of cartilage tissue when experiencing a damage leads scientists to use tissue engineering as a reliable and effective method for regenerating or replacing damaged tissues. An artificial tissue should have some features such as biocompatibility, biodegradation and, enough mechanical properties like the original tissue. In this work, a composite hydrogel is prepared by using natural and synthetic materials that has high porosity. Mechanical properties of different combinations of polymers such as modulus of elasticity were tested, and a hydrogel with good mechanical properties was selected. Bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells were also seeded into the pores of the sponge, and the results showed the adhesion and proliferation of cells within the hydrogel after one month. In comparison with previous works, this study offers a new and efficient procedure for the fabrication of cartilage like tissue and further cartilage repair.
Swelling Behaviour of Kappa Carrageenan Hydrogel in Neutral Salt Solution
Hydrogel films were prepared from kappa carrageenan by crosslinking with glutaraldehyde. Carrageenan films extracted from Kappaphycus alvarezii seaweed were immersed in glutaraldehyde solution for 2 min and then cured at 110 °C for 25 min. The obtained crosslinked films were washed with ethanol to remove the unreacted glutaraldehyde and then air dried to constant weights. The aim of this research was to study the swelling degree behaviour of the hydrogel film to neutral salts solution, namely NaCl, KCl, and CaCl2. The results showed that swelling degree of crosslinked films varied non-monotonically with salinity of NaCl. Swelling degree decreased with the increasing of KCl concentration. Swelling degree of crosslinked film in CaCl2 solution was lower than that in NaCl and in KCl solutions.
Green Synthesis of Nanosilver-Loaded Hydrogel Nanocomposites for Antibacterial Application

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.

Controlled Release of Glucosamine from Pluronic-Based Hydrogels for the Treatment of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis affects a lot of people worldwide. Local injection of glucosamine is one of the alternative treatment methods to replenish the natural lubrication of cartilage. However, multiple injections can potentially lead to possible bacterial infection. Therefore, a drug delivery system is desired to reduce the frequencies of injections. A hydrogel is one of the delivery systems that can control the release of drugs. Thermo-reversible hydrogels can be beneficial to the drug delivery system especially in the local injection route because this formulation can change from liquid to gel after getting into human body. Once the gel is in the body, it will slowly release the drug in a controlled manner. In this study, various formulations of Pluronic-based hydrogels were synthesized for the controlled release of glucosamine. One of the challenges of the Pluronic controlled release system is its fast dissolution rate. To overcome this problem, alginate and calcium sulfate (CaSO4) were added to the polymer solution. The characteristics of the hydrogels were investigated including the gelation temperature, gelation time, hydrogel dissolution and glucosamine release mechanism. Finally, a mathematical model of glucosamine release from Pluronic-alginate-hyaluronic acid hydrogel was developed. Our results have shown that crosslinking Pluronic gel with alginate did not significantly extend the dissolution rate of the gel. Moreover, the gel dissolution profiles and the glucosamine release mechanisms were best described using the zeroth-order kinetic model, indicating that the release of glucosamine was primarily governed by the gel dissolution.

Utilization and Characterizations of Olive Oil Industry By-Products
A considerable amount of lignocellulosic by-product could be obtained from olive pulp during olive oil extraction industry. The major constituents of the olive pulp are husks and seeds. The separation of each portion of olive pulp (seeds and husks) was carried out by water flotation where seeds were sediment in the bottom. Both seeds and husks were dignified by 15% NaOH followed by complete lignin removal by using sodium chlorite in acidic medium. The isolated holocellulose, α-cellulose, hydrogel and CMC of both seeds and husk fractions were characterized by FTIR and SEM. The present study focused on the investigation of the chemical components of the lignocellulosic fraction of olive pulp and using them in medical application. Carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) is produced and applied in the preparation of antimicrobial hydrogel.
Utilization and Characterizations of Olive Oil Industry By-Products
A considerable amount of lignocellulosic by-product could be obtained from olive pulp during olive oil extraction industry. The major constituents of the olive pulp are husks and seeds. The separation of each portion of olive pulp (seeds and husks) was carried out by water flotation where seeds were sediment in the bottom. Both seeds and husks were dignified by 15% NaOH followed by complete lignin removal by using sodium chlorite in acidic medium. The isolated holocellulose, α-cellulose, hydrogel and CMC which prepared from cellulose of both seeds and husk fractions were characterized by FTIR and SEM. The present study focused on the investigation of the chemical components of the lignocellulosic fraction of olive pulp. Biofunctionlization of hydrogel was achieved through loading of silver nanoparticles AgNPs in to the prepared hydrogel. The antimicrobial activity of the loaded silver hydrogel against G-ve, and G+ve, and candida was demonstrated.
Sorption of Charged Organic Dyes from Anionic Hydrogels
Hydrogels are three-dimensional, hydrophilic, polymeric networks composed of homopolymers or copolymers and are insoluble in water due to the presence of chemical or physical cross-links. When hydrogels come in contact with aqueous solutions, they can effectively sorb and retain the dissolved substances, depending on the nature of the monomeric units comprising the hydrogel. For this reason, hydrogels have been proposed in several studies as water purification agents. At the present work anionic hydrogels bearing negatively charged –COO- groups were prepared and investigated. These gels are based on sodium acrylate (ANa), either homopolymerized (poly(sodiumacrylate), PANa) or copolymerized (P(DMAM-co-ANa)) with N,N Dimethylacrylamide (DMAM). The hydrogels were used to extract some model organic dyes from water. It is found that cationic dyes are strongly sorbed and retained by the hydrogels, while sorption of anionic dyes was negligible. In all cases it was found that both maximum sorption capacity and equilibrium binding constant varied from one dye to the other depending on the chemical structure of the dye, the presence of functional chemical groups and the hydrophobic-hydrophilic balance. Finally, the nonionic hydrogel of the homopolymer poly(N,Ndimethylacrylamide), PDMAM, was also used for reasons of comparison.
Preparation and in vitro Bactericidal and Fungicidal Efficiency of NanoSilver/Methylcellulose Hydrogel

In this work we describe the preparation of NanoSilver/methylcellulose hydrogel containing silver nanoparticles (NPs) for topical bactericidal applications. Highly concentrated dispersion of silver NPs as high as of 5g/L of silver with diameter of 10nm was prepared by reduction of AgNO3 via strong reducing agent NaBH4. Silver NPs were stabilized by addition of sodium polyacrylate in order to prevent their aggregation at such high concentration. This way synthesized silver NPs were subsequently incorporated into methylcellulose suspension at elevated temperature resulting in formation of NanoSilver/methylcellulose hydrogel when temperature cooled down to laboratory conditions. In vitro antibacterial activity assay proved high bactericidal and fungicidal efficiency of silver NPs alone in the form of dispersion as well as in the form of hydrogel against broad spectrum of bacteria and yeasts including highly multiresistant strains such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. A very low concentrations of silver as low as 0.84mg/L Ag in as-prepared dispersion gave antibacterial performance. NanoSilver/methylcellulose hydrogel showed antibacterial action at the lowest used silver concentration equal to 25mg/L. Such prepared NanoSilver/methylcellulose hydrogel represent promising topical antimicrobial formulation for treatment of burns and wounds.

Hydrogels Based on Carrageenan Extracted from Kappaphycus alvarezii
Preparation of hydrogel based on carrageenan extracted from Kappaphycus alvarezii was conducted with film immersion in glutaraldehyde solution (GA 4%w/w) for 2min and then followed by thermal curing at 110°C for 25min. The method of carrageenan recovery strongly determines the properties of crosslinked carrageenan. Hydrogel obtained from alkali treated carrageenan showed higher swelling ability compared to hydrogel from nonalkali treated carrageenan. Hydrogel from alkali treated showed the ability of sensitive to pH media.
pH-Responsiveness Properties of a Biodigradable Hydrogels Based on Carrageenan-g-poly(NaAA-co-NIPAM)
A novel thermo-sensitive superabsorbent hydrogel with salt- and pH-responsiveness properties was obtained by grafting of mixtures of acrylic acid (AA) and N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAM) monomers onto kappa-carrageenan, kC, using ammonium persulfate (APS) as a free radical initiator in the presence of methylene bisacrylamide (MBA) as a crosslinker. Infrared spectroscopy was carried out to confirm the chemical structure of the hydrogel. Moreover, morphology of the samples was examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The effect of MBA concentration and AA/NIPAM weight ratio on the water absorbency capacity has been investigated. The swelling variations of hydrogels were explained according to swelling theory based on the hydrogel chemical structure. The hydrogels exhibited salt-sensitivity and cation exchange properties. The temperature- and pH-reversibility properties of the hydrogels make the intelligent polymers as good candidates for considering as potential carriers for bioactive agents, e.g. drugs.
Design a Biodegradable Hydrogel for Drug Delivery System
In this article, we synthesize a novel chitosan -based superabsorbent hydrogel via graft copolymerization of mixtures acrylic acid (AA) and N-vinyl pyrollidon onto chitosan backbones. The polymerization reaction was carried out in an aqueous medium and in the presence of ammonium persulfate (APS) as an initiator and N,N'-methylene bisacrylamide (MBA) as a crosslinker.The hydrogel structures were confirmed by FTIR spectroscopy. The swelling behavior of these absorbent polymers was also investigated in various salt solutions. Results indicated that the swelling capacity decreased with an increase in the ionic strength of the swelling medium. Furthermore, the swelling of superabsorbing hydrogels was examined in solutions with pH values ranging between 1.0 and 13.0. It showed a reversible pH-responsive behavior at pHs 2.0 and 8.0. This on-off switching behavior makes the synthesized hydrogels as an excellent candidate for controlled delivery of bioactive agents.
Synthesis and Analysis of Swelling and Controlled Release Behaviour of Anionic sIPN Acrylamide based Hydrogels
In modern agriculture, polymeric hydrogels are known as a component able to hold an amount of water due to their 3-dimensional network structure and their tendency to absorb water in humid environments. In addition, these hydrogels are able to controllably release the fertilisers and pesticides loaded in them. Therefore, they deliver these materials to the plants' roots and help them with growing. These hydrogels also reduce the pollution of underground water sources by preventing the active components from leaching. In this study, sIPN acrylamide based hydrogels are synthesised by using acrylamide free radical, potassium acrylate, and linear polyvinyl alcohol. Ammonium nitrate is loaded in the hydrogel as the fertiliser. The effect of various amounts of monomers and linear polymer, measured in molar ratio, on the swelling rate, equilibrium swelling, and release of ammonium nitrate is studied.
Thermo-Sensitive Hydrogel: Control of Hydrophilic-Hydrophobic Transition
The study investigated the hydrophilic to hydrophobic transition of modified polyacrylamide hydrogel with the inclusion of N-isopropylacrylamide (NIAM). The modification was done by mimicking micellar polymerization, which resulted in better arrangement of NIAM chains in the polyacrylamide network. The degree of NIAM arrangement is described by NH number. The hydrophilic to hydrophobic transition was measured through the partition coefficient, K, of Orange II and Methylene Blue in hydrogel and in water. These dyes were chosen as a model for solutes with different degree of hydrophobicity. The study showed that the hydrogel with higher NH values resulted in better solubility of both dyes. Moreover, in temperature above the lower critical solution temperature (LCST) of Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIAM)also caused the collapse of NIPAM chains which results in a more hydrophobic environment that increases the solubility of Methylene Blue and decreases the solubility of Orange II in the hydrogels with NIPAM present.
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