Rheological Characterization of Hydrogels from Alginate-Based Nanodispersion.


Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Food Sciences (DiAAA) and Center for Colloid and Surface Science (CSGI), University of Molise, Via De Sanctis, I-86100 Campobasso, Italy. [Email]


The interest toward alginate and nanoemulsion-based hydrogels is driven by the wide potential of application. These systems have been noticed in several areas, ranging from pharmaceutical, medical, coating, and food industries. In this investigation, hydrogels prepared through in situ calcium ion release, starting from lemongrass essential oil nanodispersions stabilized in alginate aqueous suspensions in the presence of the nonionic surfactant Tween 80, were evaluated. The hydrogels prepared at different concentrations of oil, alginate, and calcium were characterized through rheological tests. Flow curves demonstrate that the hydrogels share shear thinning behavior. Oscillatory tests showed that the strength of the hydrogel network increases with the crosslinker increase, and decreases at low polymer concentrations. The hydrogels were thixotropic materials with a slow time of structural restoration after breakage. Finally, by analyzing the creep recovery data, the hydrogel responses were all fitted to the Burger model. Overall, it was demonstrated that the presence of essential oil in the proposed hydrogels does not affect the mechanical characteristics of the materials, which are mainly influenced by the concentration of polymer and calcium as a crosslinker.



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