Supercritical CO2 dried chitosan nanoparticles: production and characterization
Herein are reported the production and characteristics of chitosan nanoparticles that go through supercritical CO2 drying. First, chitosan nanoparticles in aqueous colloidal suspension were produced by ionic crosslinking with sodium tripolyphosphate. The produced nanoparticles have a surface charge (ζ-potential) of +27 mV and an average diameter of approximately 100 nm, measured by dynamic light scattering and field emission-scanning electron microscopy observations. The liquid phase of the nanoparticle suspension was replaced successively with ethanol and supercritical CO2 to produce dried chitosan nanoparticles finally. The main characteristics of the obtained nanoparticles were determined by diverse analytical techniques. Infrared spectroscopy, solid-state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance and X-ray diffraction studies were performed to explore possible physicochemical changes induced by the drying procedure. Also, the thermal stability of the dry chitosan nanoparticles was determined by thermogravimetric assay and dynamic scanning calorimetry. Structural properties were analyzed and compared with lyophilized nanoparticles finding that the supercritically dried chitosan nanoparticles have a surface area an order of magnitude higher. Microscopy images showed that the supercritically dried chitosan nanoparticles have a porous conglomerated structure, suggesting that there is particle aggregation through the drying process. Notwithstanding, the dry chitosan nanoparticles resuspended in the dilute acid medium readily; microscopy observations showed that the size of the resuspended particles remains in the nanoscale range. The proposed procedure is able to furnish dried chitosan nanoparticles with structural characteristics and functional properties that are appealing for their use in diverse applications.