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Phloroglucinol-enhanced whey protein isolate hydrogels with antimicrobial activity for tissue engineering

Platania, V, Douglas, TEL, Zubko, MK, Ward, D, Pietryga, K and Chatzinikolaidou, M (2021) Phloroglucinol-enhanced whey protein isolate hydrogels with antimicrobial activity for tissue engineering. Materials Science and Engineering C, 129. ISSN 0928-4931

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Abstract

Aging populations in developed countries will increase the demand for implantable materials to support tissue regeneration. Whey Protein Isolate (WPI), derived from dairy industry by-products, can be processed into hydrogels with the following desirable properties for applications in tissue engineering: (i) ability to support adhesion and growth of cells; (ii) ease of sterilization by autoclaving and (iii) ease of incorporation of poorly water-soluble drugs with antimicrobial activity, such as phloroglucinol (PG), the fundamental phenolic subunit of marine polyphenols. In this study, WPI hydrogels were enriched with PG at concentrations between 0 and 20% w/v. PG solubilization in WPI hydrogels is far higher than in water. Enrichment with PG did not adversely affect mechanical properties, and endowed antimicrobial activity against a range of bacteria which occur in healthcare-associated infections (HAI). WPI-PG hydrogels supported the growth of, and collagen production by human dental pulp stem cells and - to a lesser extent - of osteosarcoma-derived MG-63 cells. In summary, enrichment of WPI with PG may be a promising strategy to prevent microbial contamination while still promoting stem cell attachment and growth.

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