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Dendrimer directed assembly of dicarboxylated hairy nanocellulose

Tavakolian, Mandana, Lerner, Jade, Medina Tovar, Fernando, Frances, Jérémy, van de Ven, Theo G.M., Kakkar, Ashok
Journal of colloid and interface science 2019 v.541 pp. 444-453
acid hydrolysis, cellulose, chemical bonding, dendrimers, hairs, nanocrystals
Dendrimer-directed assembly of electrosterically stabilized nanocrystalline cellulose (ENCC) to form network structures was studied. ENCC is a member of the family of hairy nanocelluloses and consists of a crystalline rod and dicarboxylated cellulose chains (“hairs”) protruding from both ends, which are very reactive. We hypothesized that covalent linking of ENCC and dendrimers should lead to self-assembled hybrid network structures in which dendrimeric nodes connect cellulose nanorods.Polyamidoamine (PAMAM) dendrimers were covalently linked to ENCC by a bioconjugation reaction with different ratios of ENCC to PAMAM. To control the self-assembly process and prevent aggregation, acid hydrolysis of ENCC was performed to obtain crew-cut ENCC with shorter hairs and less negative charge. The formation of self-assembled structures from different PAMAM concentrations were analyzed using atomic force microscopy.It was observed that depending on the concentration of PAMAM, various linear, star-shaped, and closed-loop structures were formed. Also, networks were formed with dendrimers acting as the nodes, connecting long cellulose rods, thus producing a network with a characteristic length of around 100–200 nm, which is difficult to obtain otherwise. We have demonstrated that the reactions of dendrimers with ENCC are solely occurring at the hairs and not at the crystalline regions.