Electrospinning, photocrosslinking of Arylazide Chitosan Nanofibers and Application as Biocatalyst Support Matrix
A process yielding water stable chitosan nanofiber mats is described and their significance in the field of biocatalyst immobilization is proven. Electrospinning was adapted to produce nanofibers from chitosan derivatives bearing photoreactive arylazide groups. These photoreactive groups of chitosan were then crosslinked by irradiation with UV-light. This stabilizes the fiber morphology even upon incubation in water and provides an alternative to crosslinking with harmful chemicals. Applicability of the fiber mats as enzyme immobilization matrix was demonstrated, using β-D-galactosidase as model enzyme. Although an initial leaching of enzyme was observed, after 40 days of incubation a significant portion of active enzyme is still present on the fibers. Thus, the fiber mats are suitable matrices to support enzymes and can revolutionize future enzymatic production processes of e.g. active pharmaceutical ingredients.