Structural Characterization and Solution Properties of a Galacturonate Polysaccharide Derived from Aloe vera Capable of In Situ Gelation

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Polymers and High Performance Materials


A series of highly purified galacturonate polysaccharides have been extracted from the Aloe vera plant and analyzed in terms of chemical composition and molecular weight. This Aloe vera polysaccharide (AvP) has been found to exist as a high molecular weight species and possess a unique chemical composition, including a high galacturonic acid (GalA) content and low degree of methyl ester substitution. These factors facilitate gel formation upon exposure to low concentrations of calcium ions, leading to potential application in formulations designed for in situ nasal or subcutaneous protein delivery. Thorough examination of classic dilute solution properties, the [η]−Mw, and RgMw relationships, persistence length (Lp), and inherent chain stiffness (B parameter), indicate an expanded random coil in aqueous salt solutions. The critical concentration for transition from dilute to concentrated solution, Ce, was determined by measuring both the zero shear viscosity (ηo) and fluorescence emission of the probe molecule 1,8-anilino-1-naphthalene sulfonic acid (1,8-ANS) as a function of polymer concentration. Examination of zeta potential and Ce as a function of ionic strength indicates that the shift in Ce from 0.60 to 0.30 wt % is related to an increased occurrence of intermolecular interactions at high salt concentrations. Additionally, dynamic rheology data are presented highlighting the ability of AvP to form gels at low polymer and calcium ion concentrations, exemplifying the technological potential of this polysaccharide for in situ drug delivery.

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