A novel electrospinning approach to fabricate high strength aqueous silk fibroin nanofibers

July 28, 2017


A novel electrospinning approach to fabricate high strength aqueous silk fibroin nanofibers


B. N. Singh, N.N. Panda, K. Pramanik




International Journal of Biological Macromolecules


The present paper describes a rapid method of producing concentrated aqueous regenerated Bombyx mori silk fibroin (RSF) solution by applying mild shearing under forced dehumidified air and generation of electrospun SF nanofibers from concentrated solution with high mechanical strength using free liquid surface electrospinning machine. The shear induced concentrating mechanism favoured the electrospinning process by enhancing the viscosity (>2.43 Pa s as onset for electrospinning) and decreasing the surface tension of the solution (40.1–37.7 mN/m). Shearing reduced the β-turns and random coil molecular conformation and thereby, intensified the β-sheet content from 16.9% to 34% which is the minimum content needed to commence RSF nanofibers formation. Subsequently, electrospun nanofibrous mats were produced from different batches of concentrated SF solutions (15–21 wt%). Among the concentrated RSF, 17 wt% RSF solution was the most favourable concentration producing electrospun nanofibrous mat having lowest average fiber diameters of 183 ± 55 nm and good tensile strength. The mechanical strength of the nanofibrous sheet was further improved by cross-linking with 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)carbodiimide hydrochloride and N-hydroxysuccinimide (EDC + NHS) which might be due to enhancement of β-sheet content. These nanofibers exhibited 17.57 ± 1.13 MPa ultimate tensile strength, 12.48 ± 1.46% tensile strain at break and 37.7% increase in root mean square surface roughness which is favourable feature for cell adhesion and neo-tissue formation.




Circular dichroism, Nanostructures, Secondary structure, Materials