Metal cross-linked supramolecular gel noodles: structural insights and antibacterial assessment

Dipankar Ghosh, Sophie Coulter, Garry Laverty, Chris Holland, James Doutch, Massimo Vassalli, Dave Adams*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Achieving precise control over gelator alignment and morphology is crucial for crafting tailored materials and supramolecular structures with distinct properties. We successfully aligned the self-assembled micelles formed by a functionalized dipeptide 2NapFF into long 1-D 'gel noodles' by cross-linking with divalent metal chlorides. We identify the most effective cross-linker for alignment, enhancing mechanical stability, and imparting functional properties. Our study shows that Group 2 metal ions are particularly suited for creating mechanically robust yet flexible gel noodles because of their ionic and non-directional bonding with carboxylate groups. In contrast, the covalent nature and high directional bonds of d-block metal ions with carboxylates tend to disrupt the self-assembly of 2NapFF. Furthermore, the 2NapFF-Cu noodles demonstrated selective antibacterial activity, indicating that the potent antibacterial property of the copper(II) ion is preserved within the cross-linked system. By merging insights into molecular alignment, gel extrusion processing, and integrating specific functionalities, we illustrate how the versatility of dipeptide-based gels can be utilized in creating next-generation soft materials.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiomacromolecules
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2024

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