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Characterization of Biomimetic Adhesives from the Red Alga Gracilaria Conferta for Biomedical Applications

Marine macro algae represent an interesting class of organisms that evolved remarkable underwater bioadhesives. Algal bioadhesives rapidly and permanently attach the algae to the substratum, and withstand the strong mechanical stresses and pulloff forces associated to wave‐swept shores and tidal currents. These properties indicate a promising avenue in the development of strong and durable adhesives for biomedical applications, including tissue adhesives as an alternative to conventional wound closure methods such as sutures and staples, or dermal and mucosal drug delivery systems. This chapter provides the current status and future trends of basic and applied research regarding algal bioadhesives, with particular reference to Gracilaria conferta polymeric extracts and evaluation of their potential for biomedical application. Extract components were found to be glycoproteins (about 20 %) and polysaccharides (about 70 %). The amino acid composition of the proteins contains over 20% of acidic residues, whereas neither DOPA nor hydroxyproline were detected. The extracted polymers have been used to formulate thin films and adhesives. The film's mechanical properties were modulated within a wide range using EDC and glycerol as cross‐linker and plastisizer respectively. The films' physical properties and preliminary biocompatibility studies indicate that they are apparently safe and effective for biomedical applications.

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10 Jun 2013
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