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Biodegradable Solid Polymer Electrolytes from the Discarded Cataractous Eye Protein Isolate

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-02-08, 02:45 authored by Prasun Chowdhury, Abhijit Lincon, Shishir Bhowmik, Atul Kumar Ojha, Sreshtha Chaki, Tridib Samanta, Atri Sen, Swagata Dasgupta
The protein extracted from the discarded eye lenses postcataract surgery, referred to as the cataractous eye protein isolate (CEPI), is employed as a polymer matrix for the construction of solid polymer electrolyte species (SPEs). SPEs are expected to be inexpensive, conductive, and mechanically stable in order to be economically and commercially viable. Environmentally, these materials should be biodegradable and nontoxic. Taking these factors into account, we investigated the possibility of using a discarded protein as a polymer matrix for SPEs. Natural compounds sorbitol and sinapic acid (SA) are used as the plasticizer and cross-linker, respectively, to tune the mechanical as well as electrochemical properties. The specific material formed is demonstrated to have high ionic conductivity ranging from ∼2 × 10–2 to ∼8 × 10–2 S cm–1. Without the addition of any salt, the ionic conductivity of sorbitol-plasticized non-cross-linked CEPI is ∼7.5 × 10–2 S cm–1. Upon the addition of NaCl, the conductivity is enhanced to ∼8 × 10–1 S cm–1. This study shows the possibility of utilizing a discarded protein CEPI as an alternative polymer matrix with further potential for the construction of tunable, flexible, recyclable, biocompatible, and biodegradable SPEs for flexible green electronics and biological devices.

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