Graft copolymerization of chitosan with acrylonitrile (AN) was carried out by free radical polymerization using KMnO4 and oxalic acid as a combined redox initiator system. Graft copolymerization was confirmed by Fourier transform infrared spectra (FTIR), proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectra (1H-NMR), thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA) measurements, and wide angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD). In addition, further modification of the cyano groups of the grafted copolymers was performed by partial hydrolysis into carboxylic function groups with various extents. The extent of hydrolysis was monitored using FTIR spectroscopy. The potential of the hydrolyzed and unhydrolyzed grafted copolymers as polymeric carriers for drug delivery systems was extensively studied by preparation of tablets incorporated with methyl orange (MO) as a drug model. In vitro drug release was carried out in simulated gastric and intestinal conditions. The effects of grafting percentage (GP) and the extent of hydrolysis on the release kinetics were evaluated. Release continued up to 24 h for both hydrolyzed and unhydrolysed chitosan-g-PAN copolymers. The nature of drug transport through the polymer matrices was studied by comparing with power law or Kormeyer-Peppas equation. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2010
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