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Activation of polymeric materials towards enzymatic postgrafting and cross-linking

Fatarella, E., Ciabatti, I., Cortez, J.
Enzyme and microbial technology 2012 v.51 no.5 pp. 252-257
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, active ingredients, biocompatible materials, confocal microscopy, cotton, crosslinking, enzyme activity, fabrics, fluorescence, irradiation, peptides, polymers, protein-glutamine gamma-glutamyltransferase, wool
A methodology to activate inert polymeric materials to enzymatic functionalisation is described herein. Plasma irradiation can be used to graft compounds containing a moiety that is reactive towards an enzyme of interest. Subsequently, such enzyme can be used to either postgraft functional compounds or cross-link the polymeric materials. Argon plasma was utilised to graft 2-aminoethyl methacrylate onto cotton and wool fibres, introducing surface alkylamine groups to impart reactivity towards transglutaminase and tyrosinase. The efficiency of plasma grafting was verified by ATR-FTIR. Enzyme postgrafting of fluorescent peptides coupled with confocal microscopy was used to demonstrate transglutaminase activity towards cotton, a material typically inert to this enzyme. The grafting of alkylamines onto wool resulted in additional cross-linking by both enzymes, leading to significantly increased yarn breaking load and elongation at break. This technology permits the activation of inert materials towards enzymatic postgrafting, with applications in fields as diverse as textiles and biomaterials.