Synthesis and characterization of a novel biomaterial based on chitosan modified with amino acids

ABSTRACT The chemical modification of chitosan (CH) from shrimp shells (Litopenaeus vannamei) was performed with amino acids: L-leucine (Leu) and L-tyrosine (Tyr), in order to change some of its physical and chemical properties, which allow the enhancement of the applications of chitosan in biomedical and pharmacological areas. The characterization of chitosan derivatives (CH-CH-Leu and Tyr) was performed by infrared spectroscopy studies (ATR-FTIR) to verify the new structure of the modified compounds. The thermal stability was analyzed by thermogravimetry (TGA). Solubility tests were carried out, where it was observed that the obtained derivatives are soluble in aqueous solutions at neutral and alkaline pH values, unlike the chitosan that is only soluble under acid pH conditions. The cytotoxicity of the derivatives was analyzed by hemocompatibility tests with human erythrocytes. Subsequently, membranes were obtain from the derivatives of CH-Leu and CH-Tyr, and contact angle was measured. The process of biodegradability in these membranes was studied through hydrolysis processes in H2O and phosphate buffered saline (PBS), pH 7.4 at 37ºC during time intervals of 24, 72 and 168 h. Scaffolds were prepared using the electrospinning technique to be able to prepare a mixture between poly (vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and CH derivatives (given their solubility in water) and the morphology was studied using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). In general, FTIR spectroscopy, TGA thermal analysis and SEM served as tools to verify the modification, and these derivatives allow to expand the physical and chemical properties of neat chitosan, mainly in terms of its solubility, allowing this novel biomaterial to be used in multiple applications, highlighting that they can be mixed with synthetic polymer phases which opens windows for the use of this interesting biopolymer.