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Keywords:

  • biomaterials;
  • biosynthesis of polymers;
  • gels;
  • polyelectrolytes

ABSTRACT

Extraction, purification, and gel preparation of Aloe Vera pectin and the evaluation of the biocompatibility of the pectin gels were studied, considering as end use as implantable materials for regenerative medicine. A. Vera was chosen as source of pectin, as this pectin was described to possess high molecular weight and a low degree of esterification. As the properties of pectins are strictly dependent upon the extraction methods in combination with the natural source, the extraction method was modified in order to optimize the yield of the final product, its purity, the duration of the process and the selection of non-toxic chemical reagents. Changing the experimental conditions resulted in four different extraction processes and products with different physical and chemical characteristics. The optimal extraction resulted to be the process: with enzimatic deactivation by microwave and the use of sodium citrate as chelating agent the molecular weight of the pectin extracted was estimated to be 118 kDa and the 2.93% esterification degree. Cytocompatibility of pectin gels, prepared by ionotropic gelation, showing an improved cell adhesion if compared to commercial pectin. The results suggest that the extracted A. Vera pectins possess interesting properties to be exploited for the production of mechanically stable gels by ionotropic gelation and high rhamnose content matrices for application in regenerative medicine. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 39760.