Microfiber materials have been widely used for many applications in the medical field, such as in sutures. Chitosan fibers, along with chitin fibers, are candidates for similar biofibers because of their strong inherent mechanical properties, although the current synthesis of these fibers, which uses epoxy-based crosslinkers, leads to an interruption in the crystalline character of chitosan, which Mechanical strength, and reduced biocompatibility, combined with the increased cytotoxicity of these fibers. A recent study from the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan uses United Chemical Technology (Trimethoxysilyl) Butyl Aldehyde (UCT PART# PSX1050; Bio-Conext® Biomolecular Attachment) As a crosslinking agent the expected resultant fibers are strong yet non-toxic. Using the Bio-Conext® crosslinker, they found that the crystallinity did not change, effectively increasing the tensile strength and stiffness of these fibers, all while still reducing the amount of crosslinker used, e.g. that the crosslinked ratio was 20%, in contrast to ca. 80% when using epoxy-based crosslinkers. Soon, these fibers will undergo biological studies to determine whether they can be used for any number of medical applications.
Shirosaki, Y.; Okabayashi, T.; Yasutomi, S., Silane coupling agent modifies the mechanical properties of a Chitosan microfiber, molecules2020, 25, 5292.