Thermal Gelation and Stability of Pectin Grafted with PEPE


Stimuli-sensitive materials can change properties upon exposure to an external stimulus. Thermoreversible gelation upon heating is one example for such a stimuli sensitivity. Here, it is of significance to tailor the tAransition temperature and to achieve large changes of G’ and the viscosity. Grafting of the thermosensitive poly(ethylene glycol-b-propylene glycol-b-ethylene glycol)s (PEPEs) to pectin was performed in order to investigate if tailoring of the sol-gel-transition temperature can be achieved by adjusting the grafting ratio. PEPEs were aminated and grafted to the polysaccharide via EDC coupling as shown by FTIR. The sol-gel transition of the pectin, PEPE, and the grafted system (PGP) was investigated by rheology. The gelation temperature (Tgel) of the system could be adjusted by varying the grafting density of PEPE onto pectin as well as by the concentration of the thermosensitive polymer in aqueous solution. A concentration of 15 – 20 wt% of the grafted system in water led to gelation temperatures in the range of 25 – 33 °C and the critical micelle concentration (CMC) and critical micelle temperature (CMT) of the grafted systems were determined by UV spectroscopy. The viscosity and the G’ increased by four orders of magnitudes at Tgel, which is comparable to PEPEs alone, but could be reached at lower PEPE concentrations. In the future, a thorough mechanistic investigation of the gelation process would be of interest.
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