Blends of gellan gum (GE) and adipic acid (ADA), at various ratios, were manufactured in the form of films by casting from aqueous solutions and crosslinked by a dehydrothermal treatment (DHT). The materials, before and after DHT, were characterized by both physicochemical tests and cellular adhesion and growth on the film surfaces. The total reflection and spotlight Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and optical and scanning electron microscopy showed the presence of both GE-rich and ADA-rich regions and the formation of ester groups after DHT. Differential scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetric analysis, and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) showed that the crosslinking by DHT made the materials more thermally stable. The swelling in water, which diminished in the films subjected to DHT, confirmed that the crosslinking enhanced the whole stability of the material. DMA also showed that the behavior of the GE–ADA blends was quite similar to that of some living tissues, such as the skin. The cell cultures indicated that the materials, especially that with a 6 : 10 ADA-to-GE ratio, were very able to promote cellular adhesion and proliferation. In conclusion, the GE–ADA crosslinked blends appeared very suitable for a use as biomaterials; in particular, the cell cultures indicated that they might be useful as scaffolds for tissue reconstruction. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2010
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