Thixotropic supramolecular pectin-poly(ethylene glycol) methacrylate (PEGMA) hydrogels

Siew Yin Chan, Wee Sim Choo, David James Young, Xian Jun Loh

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Pectin is an anionic, water-soluble polymer predominantly consisting of covalently 1,4-linked α-D-galacturonic acid units. This naturally occurring, renewable and biodegradable polymer is underutilized in polymer science due to its insolubility in organic solvents, which renders conventional polymerization methods impractical. To circumvent this problem, cerium-initiated radical polymerization was utilized to graft methoxy-poly(ethylene glycol) methacrylate (mPEGMA) onto pectin in water. The copolymers were characterized by 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and used in the formation of supramolecular hydrogels through the addition of α-cyclodextrin (α-CD) to induce crosslinking. These hydrogels possessed thixotropic properties; shear-thinning to liquid upon agitation but settling into gels at rest. In contrast to most of the other hydrogels produced through the use of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)-grafted polymers, the pectin-PEGMA/α-CD hydrogels were unaffected by temperature changes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number404
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


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