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Silk nanoparticles have demonstrated utility across a range of biomedical applications, especially as drug delivery vehicles. Their fabrication by bottom-up methods such as nanoprecipitation, rather than top-down manufacture, can improve critical nanoparticle quality attributes. Here, we establish a simple semi-batch method using drop-by-drop nanoprecipitation at the lab scale that reduces special-cause variation and improves mixing efficiency. The stirring rate was an important parameter affecting nanoparticle size and yield (400 < 200 < 0 rpm), while the initial dropping height (5.5 vs 7.5 cm) directly affected nanoparticle yield. Varying the nanoparticle standing time in the mother liquor between 0 and 24 h did not significantly affect nanoparticle physicochemical properties, indicating that steric and charge stabilizations result in high-energy barriers for nanoparticle growth. Manufacture across all tested formulations achieved nanoparticles between 104 and 134 nm in size with high β-sheet content, spherical morphology, and stability in aqueous media for over 1 month at 4 °C. This semi-automated drop-by-drop, semi-batch silk desolvation offers an accessible, higher-throughput platform for standardization of parameters that are difficult to control using manual methodologies.
- silk fibroin