The emergence of ionotronic materials has been recently exploited for interfacing electronics and biological tissues, improving sensing with the surrounding environment. In this paper, we investigated the synergistic effect of regenerated silk fibroin (RS) with a plant-derived polyphenol (i.e., chestnut tannin on ionic conductivity and how water molecules play critical roles in regulating ion mobility in these materials. In particular, we observed that adding tannin to RS increases the ionic conductivity, and this phenomenon is accentuated by increasing the hydration. We also demonstrated how silk-based hybrids could be used as building materials for scaffolds where human fibroblast and neural progenitor cells can highly proliferate. Finally, after proving their biocompatibility, RS hybrids demonstrate excellent three-dimensional (3D) printability via extrusion-based 3D printing to fabricate a soft sensor that can detect charged objects by sensing the electric fields that originate from them. These findings pave the way for a viable option for cell culture and novel sensors, with the potential base for tissue engineering and health monitoring.
Biocompatible and Printable Ionotronic Sensing Materials Based on Silk Fibroin and Soluble Plant-Derived Polyphenols / Chiesa, Irene; De Maria, Carmelo; Tonin, Rodolfo; Ripanti, Francesca; Ceccarini, Maria Rachele; Salvatori, Carlotta; Mussolin, Lorenzo; Paciaroni, Alessandro; Petrillo, Caterina; Cesprini, Emanuele; Feo, Federica; Calamai, Martino; Morrone, Amelia; Morabito, Antonino; Beccari, Tommaso; Valentini, Luca. - In: ACS OMEGA. - ISSN 2470-1343. - 7:48(2022), pp. 43729-43737. [10.1021/acsomega.2c04729]