PH-Triggered Silk Fibroin/Alginate Structures Fabricated in Aqueous Two-Phase System

Doyeun Park, Jie Cheng, Jong Bo Park, Sungchul Shin, Sang Hoon Lee, Byung Hee Hong, Soo Hyun Kim, Jinho Hyun, Chaoyong Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


An aqueous two-phase system (ATPS) is a water-in-water biphasic system, which is generally formed by two incompatible polymers. Recently, considerable effort has been dedicated to search for new ATPS polymer pairs to further expand ATPS's applications. In this paper, a new ATPS system based on silk fibroin (SF) and alginate is introduced. A phase diagram was established to show the critical concentrations for the formation of an SF/alginate ATPS. The present system is sensitive to pH stimulus and transformed from an ATPS into a single-phasic system as pH increases above ∼9.5. Circular dichroism, fluorescence emission spectra, hydrodynamic diameter, and ζ-potential data together indicate that the SF chains undergo a dramatic extension as pH is increased, which is the reason underlying the pH-triggered phase transition. As feasible applications of this biphasic system, compartmentalized multiplex immunoassay, controlled encapsulation and release, and hierarchical fiber fabrication were demonstrated using the SF/alginate ATPS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5897-5905
Number of pages9
JournalACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Nov 11

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the KU-KIST Graduate School of Converging Science and Technology Program and by the International Postdoctoral Exchange Fellowship Program (The Recruiting Sub-program) founded by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the People’s Republic of China.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Chemical Society.


  • alginate
  • aqueous two-phase system
  • biomimicking hierarchical fiber
  • compartmentalized multiplex immunoassay
  • controlled release
  • silk fibroin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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