Study of the near-neutral pH-sensitivity of chitosan/gelatin hydrogels by turbidimetry and microcantilever deflection. Academic Article uri icon


  • The fundamental properties and pH-sensitivity of chitosan/gelating hydrogels were investigated using spectroscopic and microelectro mechanical (MEMS) measurement approaches. Turbidimetric titration revealed that there were electrostatic attractive interactions between tripolyphosphate (TPP), chitosan, and gelatin in the acidic pH range, depending on their degree of ionization. The pH-sensitive swelling behavior of the hydrogels was investigated by monitoring the deflection of hydrogel-coated microcantilevers, which exhibited a sensitive and repeatable response to solution pH. The deflection of the microcantilever increased as the pH decreased, and the response speed of the system exhibited a nearly linear relationship with pH. The effects of the pH and concentration of TPP solution, as well as the ratio of chitosan to gelatin in gel precursor solutions, on the pH sensitivity of the hydrogels were also investigated. It was found that the swelling of the hydrogel is mainly a result of chain relaxation of chitosan-TPP complexes caused by protonation of free amino groups in chitosan, which depends on the crosslinking density set during the formation of the network. An increase in initial crosslink density induced a decrease in swelling and pH sensitivity. It can be concluded from this study that pH-sensitive chitosan gel properties can be tuned by preparatory conditions and inclusion of gelatin. Furthermore, microcantilevers can be used as a platform for gaining increased understanding of environmentally sensitive polymers.

published proceedings

  • Biotechnol Bioeng

author list (cited authors)

  • Mao, J., Kondu, S., Ji, H., & McShane, M. J.

citation count

  • 56

complete list of authors

  • Mao, Jinshu||Kondu, Swapna||Ji, Hai-Feng||McShane, Michael J

publication date

  • October 2006