To reuse fish processing waste for biomedical materials, collagen (Col) was extracted from silver carp skin, and Col–chitosan (Ch) composite sponges were prepared by a freeze-drying method. The atomic force microscopy and electrophoresis results suggest the Col might have been type I. To obtain the optimum conditions for the manufacture of the Col–Ch sponges, the characteristics of sponges composed of different ratios of Col to Ch with different crosslinkers were evaluated. Scanning electron microscopy showed that the sponges had an interconnected network structure with porosity. Infrared spectroscopy demonstrated that intermolecular crosslinkages between Col and Ch occurred. The swelling measurements implied that all of the sponges could bind an 18- to 36-fold amount of distilled water and still maintain their form and stability. When the ratio of Col to Ch was higher than 1:0.25, the swelling and degradation rate decreased with increasing Ch. Cell proliferation, hemolysis, and hemostasis assay indicated that the sponges exhibited noncytotoxicity, biocompatibility, nonhemolysis, and hemostatic efficacy. Overall, we concluded that the optimal ratio of Col and Ch for the sponges was 1:0.25, and glutaraldehyde crosslinking was more suitable than 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide hydrochloride. These results demonstrate the potential application of silver carp skin Col–Ch sponges for tissue engineering and wound dressing in non-weight-bearing tissue. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 40998.
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