Characterization of internal structure of hydrated agar and gelatin matrices by cryo-SEM
KAUST DepartmentImaging and Characterization Core Lab
Physical Sciences and Engineering (PSE) Division
Chemical Science Program
Advanced Nanofabrication, Imaging and Characterization Core Lab
Numerical Porous Media SRI Center (NumPor)
Smart Hybrid Materials (SHMs) lab
Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials Research Center
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AbstractThere has been a considerable interest in recent years in developing polymer gel matrices for many important applications such as 2DE for quantization and separation of a variety of proteins and drug delivery system to control the release of active agents. However, a well-defined knowledge of the ultrastructures of the gels has been elusive. In this study, we report the characterization of two different polymers used in 2DE: Gelatin, a naturally occurring polymer derived from collagen (protein) and agar, a polymer of polysaccharide (sugar) origin. Low-temperature SEM is used to examine the internal structure of these gels in their frozen natural hydrated states. Results of this study show that both polymers have an array of hollow cells that resembles honeycomb structures. While agar pores are almost circular, the corresponding Gaussian curve is very broad exhibiting a range of radii from nearly 370 to 700 nm. Gelatin pores are smaller and more homogeneous reflecting a narrower distribution from nearly 320 to 650 nm. Overall, these ultrastructural findings could be used to correlate with functions of the polymers. © 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
SponsorsThe authors gratefully acknowledge the funding provided by the American University of Beirut Research Board and by the Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research (LCNSR).
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