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Micropatterned Silk-Fibroin/Eumelanin Composite Films for Bioelectronic Applications

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journal contribution
posted on 14.04.2021, 14:03 by Yun Hee Youn, Sayantan Pradhan, Lucília P. da Silva, Il Keun Kwon, Subhas C. Kundu, Rui L. Reis, Vamsi K. Yadavalli, Vitor M. Correlo
There has been growing interest in the use of natural bionanomaterials and nanostructured systems for diverse biomedical applications. Such materials can confer unique functional properties as well as address concerns pertaining to sustainability in production. In this work, we propose the biofabrication of micropatterned silk fibroin/eumelanin composite thin films to be used in electroactive and bioactive applications in bioelectronics and biomedical engineering. Eumelanin is the most common form of melanin, naturally derived from the ink of cuttlefish, having antioxidant and electroactive properties. Another natural biomaterial, the protein silk fibroin, is modified with photoreactive chemical groups, which allows the formation of electroactive eumelanin thin films with different microstructures. The silk fibroin/eumelanin composites are fabricated to obtain thin films as well as electroactive microstructures using UV curing. Here, we report for the first time the preparation, characterization, and physical, electrochemical, and biological properties of these natural silk fibroin/eumelanin composite films. Higher concentrations of eumelanin incorporated into the films exhibit a higher charge storage capacity and good electroactivity even after 100 redox cycles. In addition, the microscale structure and the cellular activity of the fibroin/eumelanin films are assessed for understanding of the biological properties of the composite. The developed micropatterned fibroin/eumelanin films can be applied as natural electroactive substrates for bioapplications (e.g., bioelectronics, sensing, and theranostics) because of their biocompatible properties.