Tuning hydrogels through metal-based gelation triggers†
Two N-terminal capped tripeptides have been synthesised and display remarkable versatility in their gelation behaviour. Here, gelation can be triggered through the addition of an acid, biologically relevant metal salts or cell culture media. The structural and mechanical properties of the resultant hydrogels are tuneable, with gelation triggered through sodium cations amplifying secondary structure organisation yet decreasing gel stiffness. The effect of gelation trigger on cell viability is evaluated, with substantial improvement in cell survival observed when gelation is triggered using metal salts or cell culture media.