2023 Volume 71 Issue 3 Pages 229-233
In vitro evaluation of the physical properties of biopolymer-based hydrogels can help in understanding certain phenomena, such as liquid–liquid phase separation. The formation of bovine serum albumin (BSA) hydrogels was investigated in the pH range of 1.0 to 4.0. Hydrogels were formed in the pH range of 3.0 to 4.0, whereas viscous solutions were formed in the pH range of 1.5 to 2.5. Unexpectedly, formation of BSA hydrogel was observed in extremely acidic condition (pH 1.0). The circular dichroism spectra of BSA solutions were recorded at pH values of 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and 7.0, and α-helix contents were determined from the ellipticity data at 222 nm. The α-helix content decreased with a decrease in pH, and this decrease was associated with the partial denaturation (F-isoform) and the denaturation (E-isoform) of BSA. However, the α-helix contents at pH 1.0 and 3.0 were similar. BSA hydrogels at pH 1.0 and 3.5 showed similar dynamic viscoelastic properties, further supporting the stereo structural change of BSA from the denatured E-isoform to the partially denatured F-isoform at pH 1.0. The study also focused on measuring viscoelasticity, a fundamental physical property of hydrogels, using traditional rheometer and with minimal sample volume. A highly reproducible procedure for measuring the viscoelastic properties of hydrogels was established using sample volumes of 200 and 350 μL.