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Internally Self-Assembled Thermoreversible Gelling Emulsions: ISAsomes in Methylcellulose, κ-Carrageenan, and Mixed Hydrogels

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journal contribution
posted on 18.08.2009, 00:00 by Matija Tomšič, Samuel Guillot, Laurent Sagalowicz, Martin E. Leser, Otto Glatter
Self-assembled thermo-gelling emulsions were developed by blending internally self-assembled particles (ISAsomes) with thermoreversible polysaccharide hydrogels of methylcellulose (MC), κ-carrageenan (KC), and their 1:1 mixture. In this way, the hierarchical structure of ISAsome samples was successfully promoted. The gelified polymer network corresponds to the highest level of the hierarchical structure and as such represents the capturing matrix for the medium structural level, i.e., dispersed emulsion particles, which are further internally structured as the lowest level of structure. Utilizing small-angle X-ray scattering, differential scanning calorimetry, dynamic light scattering, and oscillatory rheological experiments in the temperature regime from 20 to 70 °C, we were able to show that the ISAsomes stay practically intact during such embedment into a hydrogel matrix retaining its internal self-assembled structure and its functionality. The characteristic sol−gel and gel−sol transition temperatures of the ISAsome-loaded hydrogel samples showed a slight shift in comparison to the unloaded hydrogel samples. Furthermore, we found that MC is actually able to stabilize the ISAsomes at higher temperatures (tests were conducted up to 90 °C). Gels made from MC and KC show quite different features in terms of rheology and differential scanning calorimetry. However, the most interesting results were obtained for the ISAsome-loaded MC-KC (1:1) gelifying system, which behaves as a low- and high-temperature gel with a narrow intermediate temperature window where it is a sol. This specific thermal behavior allows for easy temperature tuning of the system’s aggregate state as well as the internal self-assembled structure. As such, this system is suggested to be further tested as the potential media for a temperature-controlled burst/sustained release media of various hydrophilic, hydrophobic, or amphiphilic guest functional molecules.