Silk fabrics from Bombyx mori silkworm were grafted with 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) as well as a binary system of HEMA and 4-hydroxybutyl acrylate (HBA) and then analysed by Raman and infrared (IR) spectroscopy to elucidate the interactions between the components and their possible conformational changes. The samples were then dissolved in trifluoroacetic acid and electrospun; the influence of the grafted polymers on the silk fibroin rearrangements upon these treatments was investigated by vibrational spectroscopy. Upon grafting, the fabrics underwent conformational rearrangements towards a more unordered state, although they kept their prevailing beta-sheet conformation; also the polymeric component underwent hydrogen bonding and backbone rearrangements upon interaction with silk fibroin and the occurrence of strong covalent bonds cannot be excluded. By immersing the as-electrospun grafted and pure fibroin nanofibres (prevalently unordered) in aqueous methanol, they partially recovered the beta-sheet content observed in the corresponding starting fabrics; the percentage of recovery decreased along the series: pure silk > HEMA-grafted silk > HEMA and HBA-grafted silk. This trend suggests that the presence of the polyHEMA grafted component hinders the silk fibroin recrystallization into beta-sheet upon aqueous methanol treatment; moreover, the addition of the more sterically hindered HBA monomer in the grafting system further prevented this process. Copyright (C) 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Influence of grafting with acrylate compounds on the conformational rearrangements of silk fibroin upon electrospinning and treatment with aqueous methanol / Pavoni, E; Tsukada, M; Taddei, P. - In: JOURNAL OF RAMAN SPECTROSCOPY. - ISSN 0377-0486. - 47:11(2016), pp. 1367-1374. [10.1002/jrs.4974]