Enzymatically cross-linked tilapia gelatin hydrogels: Physical, chemical, and hybrid networks

Franziska Bode, Marcelo Alves Da Silva, Alex F. Drake, Simon B. Ross-Murphy, Cécile A. Dreiss

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88 Citations (SciVal)


This Article investigates different types of networks formed from tilapia fish gelatin (10% w/w) in the presence and absence of the enzymatic cross-linker microbial transglutaminase. The influence of the temperature protocol and cross-linker concentration (0-55 U mTGase/g gelatin) was examined in physical, chemical, and hybrid gels, where physical gels arise from the formation of triple helices that act as junction points when the gels are cooled below the gelation point. A combination of rheology and optical rotation was used to study the evolution of the storage modulus (G') over time and the number of triple helices formed for each type of gel. We attempted to separate the final storage modulus of the gels into its chemical and physical contributions to examine the existence or otherwise of synergism between the two types of networks. Our experiments show that the gel characteristics vary widely with the thermal protocol. The final storage modulus in chemical gels increased with enzyme concentration, possibly due to the preferential formation of closed loops at low cross-linker amount. In chemical-physical gels, where the physical network (helices) was formed consecutively to the covalent one, we found that below a critical enzyme concentration the more extensive the chemical network is (as measured by G'), the weaker the final gel is. The storage modulus attributed to the physical network decreased exponentially as a function of G' from the chemical network, but both networks were found to be purely additive. Helices were not thermally stabilized. The simultaneous formation of physical and chemical networks (physical-co-chemical) resulted in G' values higher than the individual networks formed under the same conditions. Two regimes were distinguished: at low enzyme concentration (10-20 U mTGase/g gelatin), the networks were formed in series, but the storage modulus from the chemical network was higher in the presence of helices (compared to pure chemical gels); at higher enzyme concentration (30-40 U mTGase/g gelatin), strong synergistic effects were found as a large part of the covalent network became ineffective upon melting of the helices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3741-3752
Number of pages12
Issue number10
Early online date7 Aug 2011
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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