Scale-up of water-based spider silk film casting using a film applicator
Spider silk proteins for applications in drug delivery have attracted an increased interest during the past years. Some possible future medical applications for this biocompatible and biodegradable material are scaffolds for tissue engineering, implantable drug delivery systems and coatings for implants. Recently, we reported on the preparation of water-based spider silk films for drug delivery applications. In the current study, we describe the development of a manufacturing technique for casting larger spider silk films from aqueous solution employing a film applicator. Films were characterized in terms of morphology, water solubility, protein secondary structure, thermal stability, and mechanical properties. Different post-treatments were evaluated (phosphate ions, ethanol, steam sterilization and water vapor) to increase the content of β-sheets thereby achieving water insolubility of the films. Finally, the mechanical properties of the spider silk films were improved by incorporating 2-pyrrolidone as plasticizer.