Indexed on: 28 May '10Published on: 28 May '10Published in: Journal of Nanoparticle Research
Fibroin is a biomaterial and in the powder form, has found applications such as food and cosmetic additive as well as drug delivery. Various methods have been employed to produce fibroin powder with different particle size range. In this study, a novel and original application of electrospraying technique capable of producing fibroin nanopowder is presented. Our technique is based on electrospraying of dilute fibroin solution in formic acid. Moreover, the effect of variables in electrospraying, namely, concentration of fibroin solution, voltage, feed rate, and needle–collector distance, on average particle size of fibroin nanopowder has been studied. The result of this study showed that electrospraying is capable of producing fibroin nanopowder with average particle size as low as 80 nm. In fact in comparison to other methods reported in the literature, electrospraying alongside with the precipitation method produce fibroin nanopowder with the lowest particle size. However, nanopowder obtained through electrospraying technique enjoys a more uniform spherical shape and size. As far as the variables are concerned, it was ascertained that lower concentrations, lower feed rates and longer needle–collector distances lead to a decrease in the average particle size of fibroin nanopowder. Increasing voltage up to 20 kV decreases the particle size; but with higher voltages the average particle size increases. FT-IR and XRD studies showed that the fibroin nanopowder has a β-sheets structure, similar to fibroin filaments but with a lower crystallinity index.