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Gels, Volume 6, Issue 2 (June 2020) – 8 articles

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Book Review
Amphiphilic Polymer Co-Networks
Gels 2020, 6(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels6020018 - 10 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 949
Abstract
Amphiphilic Polymer Co-networks: Synthesis, Properties, Modelling and Applications is a new and very interesting book published by the Royal Society of Chemistry and edited by Prof. Costas S. Patrickios (University of Cyprus). Herein, a brief review of the most important features of the [...] Read more.
Amphiphilic Polymer Co-networks: Synthesis, Properties, Modelling and Applications is a new and very interesting book published by the Royal Society of Chemistry and edited by Prof. Costas S. Patrickios (University of Cyprus). Herein, a brief review of the most important features of the book and its contents is provided from a personal perspective. Full article
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Article
Characterization of Enriched Meat-Based Pâté Manufactured with Oleogels as Fat Substitutes
Gels 2020, 6(2), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels6020017 - 22 May 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1979
Abstract
Nowadays, one of the strongest factors affecting consumers’ choice at the moment of purchasing food products is their nutritional features. The population is increasingly aware of the diet–health relationship and they are opting for a healthy lifestyle. Concerns with the increasing number of [...] Read more.
Nowadays, one of the strongest factors affecting consumers’ choice at the moment of purchasing food products is their nutritional features. The population is increasingly aware of the diet–health relationship and they are opting for a healthy lifestyle. Concerns with the increasing number of heart-related diseases, which are associated to the consumption of fats, are placing the functional food market in a relevant growth position. Considering that, our goal was to develop, under semi-industrial processing conditions, a healthy meat-based spreadable product (pâté) with reduced fat content through replacement of pork fat by healthier structured oil. Beeswax was used to develop an edible oleogel based on linseed oil with a high content of linolenic acid. A decrease of the hardness and adhesivity was verified for pâtés with oleogel incorporation. Linseed oil inclusion was the main factor leading to an increase of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) content in pâté samples. A decrease up to 90% in the n-6/n-3 (omega-6/omega-3) ratio can signify a better nutritional value of the obtained pâté samples, which can result in a possible upsurge in omega-3 bioavailability through digestion of these pâtés. This could be an interesting option for the consumption of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, targeting, for example, the reduction of cardiovascular diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gels: 6th Anniversary)
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Communication
Pyrene-Based Co-Assembled Supramolecular Gel; Morphology Changes and Macroscale Mechanical Property
Gels 2020, 6(2), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels6020016 - 15 May 2020
Viewed by 1144
Abstract
Two pyrene derivatives having the perylenediimide (1) or the alky chain (2) in the middle of molecules were synthesized. Co-assembled supramolecular gels were prepared at different molar ratios of 0.2, 0.5, and 0.8 equiv. of 2 to 1. [...] Read more.
Two pyrene derivatives having the perylenediimide (1) or the alky chain (2) in the middle of molecules were synthesized. Co-assembled supramolecular gels were prepared at different molar ratios of 0.2, 0.5, and 0.8 equiv. of 2 to 1. By SEM observation, the morphology of co-assembled supramolecular gels changed from spherical nanoparticles to three-dimensional network nanofibers as the ratio of 2 increased. In addition, the pyrene-excimer emission of co-assembled gels increased with increasing concentration of 2, and was stronger when compared with the condition without 1 or 2, indicating the formation of pyrene interaction between 1 and 2. In addition, the sol-gel transition was found to be reversible over repeated measurement by tube inversion method. The rheological properties of co-assembled supramolecular gels were also improved by increasing the ratio of 2, due to the increased nanoscale flexibility of supramolecular packing by introducing alkyl chain groups through heterogeneous pyrene interaction. These findings suggest that macroscale mechanical strength of co-assembled supramolecular gel was strongly influenced by nanoscale flexibility of the supramolecular packing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Supramolecular Gels: New Knowledge)
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Article
Extended Rate Constants Distribution (RCD) Model for Sorption in Heterogeneous Systems: 2. Importance of Diffusion Limitations for Sorption Kinetics on Cryogels in Batch
Gels 2020, 6(2), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels6020015 - 14 May 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 979
Abstract
Here we address the problem of what we can expect from investigations of sorption kinetics on cryogel beads in batch. Does macroporosity of beads indeed help eliminate diffusion limitations under static sorption conditions? Are sorption rate constants calculated using phenomenological kinetic models helpful [...] Read more.
Here we address the problem of what we can expect from investigations of sorption kinetics on cryogel beads in batch. Does macroporosity of beads indeed help eliminate diffusion limitations under static sorption conditions? Are sorption rate constants calculated using phenomenological kinetic models helpful for predicting sorption properties under dynamic conditions? Applying the rate constants distribution (RCD) model to kinetic curves of Cu(II) ions sorption on polyethyleneimine (PEI) cryogel and gel beads and fines, we have shown that diffusion limitations in highly swollen beads are very important and result in at least ten-fold underestimation of the sorption rate constants. To account for intraparticle diffusion, we have developed the RCD-diffusion model, which yields “intrinsic” kinetic parameters for the sorbents, even if diffusion limitations were important in kinetic experiments. We have shown that introduction of a new variable—characteristic diffusion time—to the RCD model significantly improved the reliability of sorption kinetic parameters and allowed prediction of the minimal residence time in column required for efficient uptake of the adsorbate under dynamic conditions. The minimal residence time determined from kinetic curves simulated using the RCD-diffusion model was in good agreement with experimental data on breakthrough curves of Cu(II) ion sorption on monolith PEI cryogel at different flow rates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryogelation and Cryogels 2.0)
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Review
Stimuli-Responsive Hydrogels for Local Post-Surgical Drug Delivery
Gels 2020, 6(2), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels6020014 - 08 May 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1930
Abstract
Currently, surgical operations, followed by systemic drug delivery, are the prevailing treatment modality for most diseases, including cancers and trauma-based injuries. Although effective to some extent, the side effects of surgery include inflammation, pain, a lower rate of tissue regeneration, disease recurrence, and [...] Read more.
Currently, surgical operations, followed by systemic drug delivery, are the prevailing treatment modality for most diseases, including cancers and trauma-based injuries. Although effective to some extent, the side effects of surgery include inflammation, pain, a lower rate of tissue regeneration, disease recurrence, and the non-specific toxicity of chemotherapies, which remain significant clinical challenges. The localized delivery of therapeutics has recently emerged as an alternative to systemic therapy, which not only allows the delivery of higher doses of therapeutic agents to the surgical site, but also enables overcoming post-surgical complications, such as infections, inflammations, and pain. Due to the limitations of the current drug delivery systems, and an increasing clinical need for disease-specific drug release systems, hydrogels have attracted considerable interest, due to their unique properties, including a high capacity for drug loading, as well as a sustained release profile. Hydrogels can be used as local drug performance carriers as a means for diminishing the side effects of current systemic drug delivery methods and are suitable for the majority of surgery-based injuries. This work summarizes recent advances in hydrogel-based drug delivery systems (DDSs), including formulations such as implantable, injectable, and sprayable hydrogels, with a particular emphasis on stimuli-responsive materials. Moreover, clinical applications and future opportunities for this type of post-surgery treatment are also highlighted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrogels for Drug Delivery 2020)
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Article
Synthesis and 3D Printing of Conducting Alginate–Polypyrrole Ionomers
Gels 2020, 6(2), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels6020013 - 18 Apr 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1584
Abstract
Hydrogels composed of calcium cross-linked alginate are under investigation as bioinks for tissue engineering scaffolds due to their variable viscoelasticity, biocompatibility, and erodibility. Here, pyrrole was oxidatively polymerized in the presence of sodium alginate solutions to form ionomeric composites of various compositions. The [...] Read more.
Hydrogels composed of calcium cross-linked alginate are under investigation as bioinks for tissue engineering scaffolds due to their variable viscoelasticity, biocompatibility, and erodibility. Here, pyrrole was oxidatively polymerized in the presence of sodium alginate solutions to form ionomeric composites of various compositions. The IR spectroscopy shows that mild base is required to prevent the oxidant from attacking the alginate during the polymerization reaction. The resulting composites were isolated as dried thin films or cross-linked hydrogels and aerogels. The products were characterized by elemental analysis to determine polypyrrole incorporation, electrical conductivity measurements, and by SEM to determine changes in morphology or large-scale phase separation. Polypyrrole incorporation of up to twice the alginate (monomer versus monomer) provided materials amenable to 3D extrusion printing. The PC12 neuronal cells adhered and proliferated on the composites, demonstrating their biocompatibility and potential for tissue engineering applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polysaccharide Hydrogels 2.0)
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Article
Quaternization of Composite Algal/PEI Beads for Enhanced Uranium Sorption—Application to Ore Acidic Leachate
Gels 2020, 6(2), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels6020012 - 30 Mar 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1235
Abstract
The necessity to recover uranium from dilute solutions (for environmental/safety and resource management) is driving research towards developing new sorbents. This study focuses on the enhancement of U(VI) sorption properties of composite algal/Polyethylenimine beads through the quaternization of the support (by reaction with [...] Read more.
The necessity to recover uranium from dilute solutions (for environmental/safety and resource management) is driving research towards developing new sorbents. This study focuses on the enhancement of U(VI) sorption properties of composite algal/Polyethylenimine beads through the quaternization of the support (by reaction with glycidyltrimethylammonium chloride). The sorbent is fully characterized by FTIR, XPS for confirming the contribution of protonated amine and quaternary ammonium groups on U(VI) binding (with possible contribution of hydroxyl and carboxyl groups, depending on the pH). The sorption properties are investigated in batch with reference to pH effect (optimum value: pH 4), uptake kinetics (equilibrium: 40 min) and sorption isotherms (maximum sorption capacity: 0.86 mmol U g−1). Metal desorption (with 0.5 M NaCl/0.5 M HCl) is highly efficient and the sorbent can be reused for five cycles with limited decrease in performance. The sorbent is successfully applied to the selective recovery of U(VI) from acidic leachate of uranium ore, after pre-treatment (cementation of copper, precipitation of rare earth elements with oxalate, and precipitation of iron). A pure yellow cake is obtained after precipitation of the eluate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gels: 6th Anniversary)
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Article
Investigation of Gel Properties of Novel Cryo-Clay-Silica Polymer Networks
Gels 2020, 6(2), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels6020011 - 30 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1009
Abstract
Several methods to increase the mechanical and swelling properties of Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) gels are known. In this study different methods were combined to systematically alter the gel properties. The combination of nanocomposite and cryo gels as well as silica post modification was [...] Read more.
Several methods to increase the mechanical and swelling properties of Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) gels are known. In this study different methods were combined to systematically alter the gel properties. The combination of nanocomposite and cryo gels as well as silica post modification was used to modulate the gel strength. This new cryo-clay-silica gel based on N-isopropylacrylamide was investigated in respect to degree of swelling, kinetic of thermo responsive behavior and tensile strength. Here, the properties of new cryo-clay-silica gel were compared with properties of clay-, silica-clay and cryo-clay gels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gels: 6th Anniversary)
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