Pullulan is a linear biosynthetic polysaccharide, which can be produced in large amount from starch, glucose, and some agro-industrial waste by the fungus Aureobasidium pullulans and has been used in most applications such as blood plasma substitutes, oil resistant films, additive for food and stimuli-responsive materials. It shows non-carcinogenic, non-mutagenic and biodegradable properties, which are very attractive for drug delivery system. Furthermore, pullulan can be grafted to poly(e-caprolactone), poly(pullulan-g-poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) and poly(N-vinyl caprolactam) to produce copolymers. All these polymers are very attractive for controlled drug delivery systems that can be produced in the forms of nanomats obtained by electrospinning techniques. These nanomats have the advantages of high surface area for cell attachment, controlled porous architecture and a 3-D microenvironment for cell-cell contact. Therefore, the goal of this project is to produce amphiphilic nanomats of pullulan-g-poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate), pullulan-g-poly(µ-caprolactone) and pullulan-g-poly(N-vinylcaprolactam) by solution electrospinning technique in the presence of active substances like, curcumin. Electrospinning parameters will be systematically evaluated laboratory and pilot scale to investigate the possibility of encapsulating and releasing active substances. These nanomats will be characterized by following analysis: morphology, average fibers diameter, surface tension, chemical structure, thermal analysis, drug entrapped and release. Furthermore, new application in ink 3D-bioprint will be explored in order to extend the applicability of these graft copolymers. This research project will be developed using a pilot scale electrospinning unit allocated at École de Technologie Supérieure (ÉTS, Montreal) in partnership with Prof. Dr. Nicole R. Demarquette.
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