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Title: Optimization of the silk scaffold sericin removal process for retention of silk fibroin protein structure and mechanical properties
Authors: Teh, T.K.H. 
Toh, S.-L. 
Goh, J.C.H. 
Issue Date: 2010
Citation: Teh, T.K.H., Toh, S.-L., Goh, J.C.H. (2010). Optimization of the silk scaffold sericin removal process for retention of silk fibroin protein structure and mechanical properties. Biomedical Materials 5 (3) : -. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In the process of removing sericin (degumming) from a raw silk scaffold, the fibroin structural integrity is often challenged, leading to mechanical depreciation. This study aims to identify the factors and conditions contributing to fibroin degradation during alkaline degumming and to perform an optimization study of the parameters involved to achieve preservation of fibroin structure and properties. The methodology involves degumming knitted silk scaffolds for various durations (5-90 min) and temperatures (60-100 °C). Mechanical agitation and use of the refreshed solution during degumming are included to investigate how these factors contribute to degumming efficiency and fibroin preservation. Characterizations of silk fibroin morphology, mechanical properties and protein components are determined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), single fiber tensile tests and gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), respectively. Sericin removal is ascertained via SEM imaging and a protein fractionation method involving SDS-PAGE. The results show that fibroin fibrillation, leading to reduced mechanical integrity, is mainly caused by prolonged degumming duration. Through a series of optimization, knitted scaffolds are observed to be optimally degummed and experience negligible mechanical and structural degradation when subjected to alkaline degumming with mechanical agitation for 30 min at 100 °C. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.
Source Title: Biomedical Materials
ISSN: 17486041
DOI: 10.1088/1748-6041/5/3/035008
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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