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Polymers 2017, 9(1), 32;

Electrospinning Pullulan Fibers from Salt Solutions

Dairy and Functional Foods Research Unit, Eastern Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculture, 600 E. Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, PA 19038, USA
State Key Laboratory of Separation Membranes and Membrane Processes, Tianjin Polytechnic University, #399 Binshuixi Road, Xiqing District, Tianjin 300387, China
School of Health Diet and Industry Management, Chung-Shan Medical University and Department of Nutrition, Chung Shan Medical University Hospital, No. 110, Sec. 1, Jianguo N. Rd., South District, Taichung 402, Taiwan
National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1815 N. University Street, Peoria, IL 61604, USA
Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Mohamed Khayet
Received: 26 December 2016 / Revised: 15 January 2017 / Accepted: 17 January 2017 / Published: 22 January 2017
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There is an increasing interest in applying the technology of electrospinning for making ultrafine fibers from biopolymers for food-grade applications, and using pullulan (PUL) as a carrier to improve the electrospinnability of proteins and other naturally occurring polyelectrolytes. In this study, PUL solutions containing NaCl or Na3C6H5O7 at different concentrations were electrospun. The inclusion of salts interrupted the hydrogen bonding and altered solution properties, such as viscosity, electric conductivity, and surface tension, as well as physical properties of fibers thus obtained, such as appearance, size, and melting point. The exogenous Na+ associated to the oxygen in the C6 position of PUL as suggested by FTIR measurement and was maintained during electrospinning. Bead-free PUL fibers could be electrospun from PUL solution (8%, w/v) in the presence of a 0.20 M NaCl (124 ± 34 nm) or 0.05 M Na3C6H5O7 (154 ± 36 nm). The further increase of NaCl or Na3C6H5O7 resulted in fibers that were flat with larger diameter sizes and defects. SEM also showed excess salt adhering on the surfaces of PUL fibers. Since most food processing is not carried out in pure water, information obtained through the present research is useful for the development of electrospinning biopolymers for food-grade applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: ultrafine fibers; rheology; morphology; pullulan ultrafine fibers; rheology; morphology; pullulan

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Li, R.; Tomasula, P.; de Sousa, A.M.M.; Liu, S.-C.; Tunick, M.; Liu, K.; Liu, L. Electrospinning Pullulan Fibers from Salt Solutions. Polymers 2017, 9, 32.

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