Special Issue "Electrospun Nanomaterials: Applications in Food, Environmental Remediation, and Bioengineering"

A special issue of Nanomaterials (ISSN 2079-4991).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Ricardo Mallavia
Website
Guest Editor
Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular, Universidad Miguel Hernández, Elche, Alicante 03202, Spain
Interests: Nanostructures; Conjugated polymers; Polyfluorenes; Polyelectrolytes; Fluorescent Polymers; Controlled release; Biotechnology; Nanomedicine
Dr. Alberto Falco
Website
Guest Editor
Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular, Universidad Miguel Hernández, Elche, Alicante 03202, Spain
Interests: Nanostructures; Controlled release; Biopolymer formulations; Antimicrobial compounds; Immunomodulators

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The simplicity, cost effectiveness and scalability of electrospinning has made it a popular method used in fabricating nanofibers. It allows for the design of multiple structures which are highly amenable to molecular cargo loading. The versatility of electrospinning drives its diverse application including those addressed in the Special Issue, such as food, environmental remediation, and bioengineering. Continued research must address the complex issues of biocompatibility of the electrospun mats, their release dynamics and the biological activity of the subsequently delivered compounds.

An important driver of these applications results from advances in materials science and new nanofiber manufacturing processes. In this respect, polymers have the advantage of comprising a large variety of biocompatible and biodegradable molecules with their tailored properties designed to meet the needs of the application of interest, in addition to corresponding health and biosecurity requirements. Examples of these applications have included bioactive scaffolds, wound healing dressings, biosensors, compound protective nanoreservoirs and sustained and controlled release systems.

Dr. Ricardo Mallavia
Dr. Alberto Falco
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Electrospinning
  • Controlled release
  • Biopolymer formulations
  • Food nanoapplications
  • Environmental remediation
  • Biosensors
  • Bioengineering

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Influence of the Introduced Chitin Nanofibrils on Biomedical Properties of Chitosan-Based Materials
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(5), 945; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10050945 - 15 May 2020
Abstract
Hemorrhage occurring during and after surgery still remains one of the biggest problems in medicine. Although a large number of hemostatic products have been created, there is no universal preparation; thus, the development of new materials is an urgent task. The aim of [...] Read more.
Hemorrhage occurring during and after surgery still remains one of the biggest problems in medicine. Although a large number of hemostatic products have been created, there is no universal preparation; thus, the development of new materials is an urgent task. The aim of this research is to increase hemostatic properties of chitosan by introducing chitin nanofibrils (ChNF). The blood absorbance by ChNF-containing chitosan sponges and time-until-arrest of bleeding were studied. Non-woven materials containing 0.5% of ChNF and materials without chitin were obtained. The studies of ζ-potential showed that the material containing 0.5% ChNF had relatively a high positive charge, but efficiencies of both materials for hemorrhage arrest were comparable to those of commercial hemostatic products (Surgicel and TachoComb). To investigate the interaction between the materials and living organism, histological studies and optical microscopy studies were conducted after implantation of fibers. Despite bioinertness of fibers, implantation of non-woven materials led to formation of significant granulomas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Electrospun Nanofibers: from Food to Energy by Engineered Electrodes in Microbial Fuel Cells
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(3), 523; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10030523 - 14 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are bio-electrochemical devices able to directly transduce chemical energy, entrapped in an organic mass named fuel, into electrical energy through the metabolic activity of specific bacteria. During the last years, the employment of bio-electrochemical devices to study the wastewater [...] Read more.
Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are bio-electrochemical devices able to directly transduce chemical energy, entrapped in an organic mass named fuel, into electrical energy through the metabolic activity of specific bacteria. During the last years, the employment of bio-electrochemical devices to study the wastewater derived from the food industry has attracted great interest from the scientific community. In the present work, we demonstrate the capability of exoelectrogenic bacteria used in MFCs to catalyze the oxidation reaction of honey, employed as a fuel. With the main aim to increase the proliferation of microorganisms onto the anode, engineered electrodes are proposed. Polymeric nanofibers, based on polyethylene oxide (PEO-NFs), were directly electrospun onto carbon-based material (carbon paper, CP) to obtain an optimized composite anode. The crucial role played by the CP/PEO-NFs anodes was confirmed by the increased proliferation of microorganisms compared to that reached on bare CP anodes, used as a reference material. A parameter named recovered energy (Erec) was introduced to determine the capability of bacteria to oxidize honey and was compared with the Erec obtained when sodium acetate was used as a fuel. CP/PEO-NFs anodes allowed achieving an Erec three times higher than the one reached with a bare carbon-based anode. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Physico-Chemically Distinct Nanomaterials Synthesized from Derivates of a Poly(Anhydride) Diversify the Spectrum of Loadable Antibiotics
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(3), 486; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10030486 - 08 Mar 2020
Abstract
Recent advances in the field of nanotechnology such as nanoencapsulation offer new biomedical applications, potentially increasing the scope and efficacy of therapeutic drug delivery. In addition, the discovery and development of novel biocompatible polymers increases the versatility of these encapsulating nanostructures, enabling chemical [...] Read more.
Recent advances in the field of nanotechnology such as nanoencapsulation offer new biomedical applications, potentially increasing the scope and efficacy of therapeutic drug delivery. In addition, the discovery and development of novel biocompatible polymers increases the versatility of these encapsulating nanostructures, enabling chemical properties of the cargo and vehicle to be adapted to specific physiological requirements. Here, we evaluate the capacity of various polymeric nanostructures to encapsulate various antibiotics of different classes, with differing chemical structure. Polymers were sourced from two separate derivatives of poly(methyl vinyl ether-alt-maleic anhydride) (PMVE/MA): an acid (PMVE/MA-Ac) and a monoethyl ester (PMVE/MA-Es). Nanoencapsulation of antibiotics was attempted through electrospinning, and nanoparticle synthesis through solvent displacement, for both polymers. Solvent incompatibilities prevented the nanoencapsulation of amikacin, neomycin and ciprofloxacin in PMVE/MA-Es nanofibers. However, all compounds were successfully loaded into PMVE/MA-Es nanoparticles. Encapsulation efficiencies in nanofibers reached approximately 100% in all compatible systems; however, efficiencies varied substantially in nanoparticles systems, depending on the tested compound (14%–69%). Finally, it was confirmed that both these encapsulation processes did not alter the antimicrobial activity of any tested antibiotic against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli, supporting the viability of these approaches for nanoscale delivery of antibiotics. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Natural Antibacterial Reagents (Centella, Propolis, and Hinokitiol) Loaded into Poly[(R)-3-hydroxybutyrate-co-(R)-3-hydroxyhexanoate] Composite Nanofibers for Biomedical Applications
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(12), 1665; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9121665 - 22 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Centella asiatica, propolis, and hinokitiol, as natural antibacterial reagents, were integrated into the poly[(R)-3-hydroxybutyrate-co-(R)-3-hydroxyhexanoate] (PHBH) polymer to produce antibacterial wound dressings, using electrospinning process. The results showed that the fiber diameters and surface morphology of PHBH [...] Read more.
Centella asiatica, propolis, and hinokitiol, as natural antibacterial reagents, were integrated into the poly[(R)-3-hydroxybutyrate-co-(R)-3-hydroxyhexanoate] (PHBH) polymer to produce antibacterial wound dressings, using electrospinning process. The results showed that the fiber diameters and surface morphology of PHBH composite nanofibers were influenced by the addition of ethanol–centella (EC), methanol–centella (MC), ethanol–propolis (EP), and ethanol–hinokitiol (EH) at various ratios compared to pristine PHBH nanofibers. From FT-IR, the nanofibrous samples with higher contents of natural antibacterial substances showed the peaks of carboxylic acid, aromatic ring, and tropolone carbon ring from centella, propolis, and hinokitiol, respectively. Furthermore, the tensile strength of neat PHBH nanofibers was increased from 8.00 ± 0.71 MPa up to 16.35 ± 1.78 MPa by loading of propolis (EP) 7% into PHBH. X-ray analysis explained that the loading of propolis (EP) was also able to increase the crystallinity in PHBH composite nanofibers from 47.0% to 54.5%. The antibacterial results demonstrated that PHBH composite nanofibers containing natural antibacterial products were potent inhibitors against the growth of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, amongst them hinokitiol and propolis proved to be the most effective. Additionally, the release studies displayed that centella and hinokitiol had faster release from PHBH composite nanofibers in comparison to propolis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Micro- and Nanostructures of Agave Fructans to Stabilize Compounds of High Biological Value via Electrohydrodynamic Processing
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(12), 1659; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9121659 - 21 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study focuses on the use of high degree of polymerization agave fructans (HDPAF) as a polymer matrix to encapsulate compounds of high biological value within micro- and nanostructures by electrohydrodynamic processing. In this work, β-carotene was selected as a model compound, due [...] Read more.
This study focuses on the use of high degree of polymerization agave fructans (HDPAF) as a polymer matrix to encapsulate compounds of high biological value within micro- and nanostructures by electrohydrodynamic processing. In this work, β-carotene was selected as a model compound, due to its high sensitivity to temperature, light and oxygen. Ultrafine fibers from HDPAF were obtained via this technology. These fibers showed an increase in fiber diameter when containing β-carotene, an encapsulation efficiency (EE) of 95% and a loading efficiency (LE) of 85%. The thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) showed a 90 °C shift in the β-carotene decomposition temperature with respect to its independent analysis, evidencing the HDPAF thermoprotective effect. Concerning the HDPAF photoprotector effect, only 21% of encapsulated β-carotene was lost after 48 h, while non-encapsulated β-carotene oxidized completely after 24 h. Consequently, fructans could be a feasible alternative to replace synthetic polymers in the encapsulation of compounds of high biological value. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Plasma-Coated Polycaprolactone Nanofibers with Covalently Bonded Platelet-Rich Plasma Enhance Adhesion and Growth of Human Fibroblasts
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(4), 637; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9040637 - 19 Apr 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Biodegradable nanofibers are extensively employed in different areas of biology and medicine, particularly in tissue engineering. The electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL) nanofibers are attracting growing interest due to their good mechanical properties and a low-cost structure similar to the extracellular matrix. However, the unmodified [...] Read more.
Biodegradable nanofibers are extensively employed in different areas of biology and medicine, particularly in tissue engineering. The electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL) nanofibers are attracting growing interest due to their good mechanical properties and a low-cost structure similar to the extracellular matrix. However, the unmodified PCL nanofibers exhibit an inert surface, hindering cell adhesion and negatively affecting their further fate. The employment of PCL nanofibrous scaffolds for wound healing requires a certain modification of the PCL surface. In this work, the morphology of PCL nanofibers is optimized by the careful tuning of electrospinning parameters. It is shown that the modification of the PCL nanofibers with the COOH plasma polymers and the subsequent binding of NH2 groups of protein molecules is a rather simple and technologically accessible procedure allowing the adhesion, early spreading, and growth of human fibroblasts to be boosted. The behavior of fibroblasts on the modified PCL surface was found to be very different when compared to the previously studied cultivation of mesenchymal stem cells on the PCL nanofibrous meshes. It is demonstrated by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) that the freeze–thawed platelet-rich plasma (PRP) immobilization can be performed via covalent and non-covalent bonding and that it does not affect biological activity. The covalently bound components of PRP considerably reduce the fibroblast apoptosis and increase the cell proliferation in comparison to the unmodified PCL nanofibers or the PCL nanofibers with non-covalent bonding of PRP. The reported research findings reveal the potential of PCL matrices for application in tissue engineering, while the plasma modification with COOH groups and their subsequent covalent binding with proteins expand this potential even further. The use of such matrices with covalently immobilized PRP for wound healing leads to prolonged biological activity of the immobilized molecules and protects these biomolecules from the aggressive media of the wound. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Preparation, Characterization and Properties of Porous PLA/PEG/Curcumin Composite Nanofibers for Antibacterial Application
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(4), 508; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9040508 - 02 Apr 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Polylactide/polyethylene glycol/curcumin (PLA/PEG/Cur) composite nanofibers (CNFs) with varying ratios of PEG were successfully fabricated by electrospinning. Characterizations of the samples, such as the porous structure, crystalline structure, pore size, wetting property and Cur release property were investigated by a combination of scanning electron [...] Read more.
Polylactide/polyethylene glycol/curcumin (PLA/PEG/Cur) composite nanofibers (CNFs) with varying ratios of PEG were successfully fabricated by electrospinning. Characterizations of the samples, such as the porous structure, crystalline structure, pore size, wetting property and Cur release property were investigated by a combination of scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD) and UV spectrophotometer. The antibacterial properties of the prepared porous CNFs against Escherichia coli bacteria were studied. The results showed that with the decrease of PEG in the CNFs, there appeared an evident porous structure on the CNF surface, and the porous structure could enhance the release properties of Cur from the CNFs. When the weight ratio (PEG:PLA) was 1:9, the pore structure of the nanofiber surface became most evident and the amount of Cur released was highest. However, the antibacterial effect of nonporous CNFs was better due to burst release over a short period of time. That meant that the porous structure of the CNFs could reduce the burst release and provide better control over the drug release. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Electrospun Functional Materials toward Food Packaging Applications: A Review
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(1), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10010150 - 15 Jan 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
Electrospinning is an effective and versatile method to prepare continuous polymer nanofibers and nonwovens that exhibit excellent properties such as high molecular orientation, high porosity and large specific surface area. Benefitting from these outstanding and intriguing features, electrospun nanofibers have been employed as [...] Read more.
Electrospinning is an effective and versatile method to prepare continuous polymer nanofibers and nonwovens that exhibit excellent properties such as high molecular orientation, high porosity and large specific surface area. Benefitting from these outstanding and intriguing features, electrospun nanofibers have been employed as a promising candidate for the fabrication of food packaging materials. Actually, the electrospun nanofibers used in food packaging must possess biocompatibility and low toxicity. In addition, in order to maintain the quality of food and extend its shelf life, food packaging materials also need to have certain functionality. Herein, in this timely review, functional materials produced from electrospinning toward food packaging are highlighted. At first, various strategies for the preparation of polymer electrospun fiber are introduced, then the characteristics of different packaging films and their successful applications in food packaging are summarized, including degradable materials, superhydrophobic materials, edible materials, antibacterial materials and high barrier materials. Finally, the future perspective and key challenges of polymer electrospun nanofibers for food packaging are also discussed. Hopefully, this review would provide a fundamental insight into the development of electrospun functional materials with high performance for food packaging. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Electrospun Polyvinylidene Fluoride-Based Fibrous Scaffolds with Piezoelectric Characteristics for Bone and Neural Tissue Engineering
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(7), 952; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9070952 - 30 Jun 2019
Cited by 9
Abstract
Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and polyvinylidene fluoride-trifluoroethylene (P(VDF-TrFE) with excellent piezoelectricity and good biocompatibility are attractive materials for making functional scaffolds for bone and neural tissue engineering applications. Electrospun PVDF and P(VDF-TrFE) scaffolds can produce electrical charges during mechanical deformation, which can provide necessary [...] Read more.
Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and polyvinylidene fluoride-trifluoroethylene (P(VDF-TrFE) with excellent piezoelectricity and good biocompatibility are attractive materials for making functional scaffolds for bone and neural tissue engineering applications. Electrospun PVDF and P(VDF-TrFE) scaffolds can produce electrical charges during mechanical deformation, which can provide necessary stimulation for repairing bone defects and damaged nerve cells. As such, these fibrous mats promote the adhesion, proliferation and differentiation of bone and neural cells on their surfaces. Furthermore, aligned PVDF and P(VDF-TrFE) fibrous mats can enhance neurite growth along the fiber orientation direction. These beneficial effects derive from the formation of electroactive, polar β-phase having piezoelectric properties. Polar β-phase can be induced in the PVDF fibers as a result of the polymer jet stretching and electrical poling during electrospinning. Moreover, the incorporation of TrFE monomer into PVDF can stabilize the β-phase without mechanical stretching or electrical poling. The main drawbacks of electrospinning process for making piezoelectric PVDF-based scaffolds are their small pore sizes and the use of highly toxic organic solvents. The small pore sizes prevent the infiltration of bone and neuronal cells into the scaffolds, leading to the formation of a single cell layer on the scaffold surfaces. Accordingly, modified electrospinning methods such as melt-electrospinning and near-field electrospinning have been explored by the researchers to tackle this issue. This article reviews recent development strategies, achievements and major challenges of electrospun PVDF and P(VDF-TrFE) scaffolds for tissue engineering applications. Full article
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