Scientific Results

A nanostructured conductive bio-composite of silk fibroin-single walled carbon nanotubes

Year: 2014

Authors: Dionigi C., Posati T., Benfenati V., Sagnella A., Pistone A., Bonetti S., Ruani G., Dinelli F., Padeletti G., Zamboni R., Muccini M.

Autors Affiliation: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche-Istituto per lo Studio dei Materiali Nanostrutturati (CNR-ISMN), via P. Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
Laboratorio di Micro e Submicro Tecnologie abilitanti dell’Emilia-Romagna (MIST E-R), Via P. Gobetti 101, I-40129 Bologna, Italy
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche – Istituto per la Sintesi Organica e la Fotoreattività (CNR-ISOF), via P. Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche – Istituto Nazionale di Ottica, Area della Ricerca di Pisa – S. Cataldo, via Moruzzi,1, I-56124 Pisa, Italy

Abstract: Silk fibroin (SF), a protein core fibre from the silkworm Bombyx mori, has huge potential to become a sustainable, biocompatible, and biodegradable material platform that can pave the way towards the replacement of plastic in the fabrication of bio-derived materials for a variety of technological and biomedical applications. SF has remarkable mechanical flexibility, controllable biodegradability, biocompatibility and is capable of drug/doping inclusion, stabilization and release. However, the dielectric properties of SF limit its potential as a direct bioelectronic interface in biomedical devices intended to control the bioelectrical activity of the cell for regenerative purposes. In this work, a novel wet templating method is proposed to generate nanostructured, conductive Silk Fibroin (SF) composite films. We combine the unusual properties of SF, such as its mechanical properties, its convenience and biocompatibility with the electrical conductivity and stiffness of Single Walled Carbon Nanotubes (SWCNTs). The presented SF-SWCNT composite displays a periodic architecture where SWCNTs are regularly and homogeneously distributed in the SF protein matrix. The morphological and chemo-physical properties of the nanocomposite are analysed and defined by SEM, Raman Spectroscopy, ATR-IR, UFM and contact angle analyses. Notably, the SF-SWCNT composite film is conductive, showing additional functionality compared to the dielectric properties of the bare SF film. Finally, SF-SWCNT is biocompatible and enables the growth of primary rat Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) neurons. Collectively our results demonstrate that the nanostructured, conductive, robust and biocompatible SF-SWCNT composite can be fabricated using a wet templating method, paving the way towards the fabrication and development of silk-based electronic devices for use in bioelectronic and biomedical applications.

Journal/Review: JOURNAL OF MATERIALS CHEMISTRY B

Volume: 2 (10)      Pages from: 1424  to: 1431

More Information: This work was partially supported by the Italian National Research Council (CNR) (Internal funding of the Institute of Nanostructured Materials (ISMN)) and by EU through project FP7-PEOPLE-212-ITN 316832-OLIMPIA, by Consorzio MIST E-R through Programma Operativo FESR 2007-2013 della Regione Emilia-Romagna – Attivita I.1.1. (T.P.), by MIUR through projects PRIN 2009-2009AZKNJ7 (S.B.), FIRB ITALNANONET (A.P.), Progetto Bandiera Fabbrica del Futuro, Silk-It (V.B, S.T., A.P.) and Futuro in Ricerca RBFR12SJA8 (V.B). Dr Marco Caprini, Dr Alessia Minardi and Prof Stefano Ferroni from the Dept. of Human and General Physiology of the University of Bologna are kindly acknowledged for their help in DRG cell culture preparation. Dr Massimiliano Rocchia from Thermo Fisher Scientific for allowing us to access his laboratory for ATR-IR measurements. We are grateful to Franco Corticelli for the SEM imaging assistance and to Paolo Mei and Tiziano Bonfiglioli for their technical support.
DOI: 10.1039/c3tb21172j

Citations: 17
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