Mechanical characteristics of swollen gellan gum hydrogels
The behavior of swollen gellan gum hydrogels in terms of mechanical properties, weight loss, and cell growth inhibition of leachates is presented. Low-acyl gellan gum (LAGG), high-acyl gellan gum (HAGG), and a HAGG–LAGG blend were soaked in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) at pH 7.4 and 37°C for up to 168 days. The gels exhibited their maximum mass loss and swelling after 28 days of immersion in PBS. LAGG gels exhibited lower value for mass loss and the chain-release diffusion coefficient than gels consisting of HAGG and the HAGG–LAGG blend. The change in mechanical and rheological characteristics during soaking of the three hydrogels was attributed to mass loss, while LAGG hydrogels also showed evidence of effects because of cation exchange with the surrounding medium. The mechanical characteristics of the LAGG, HAGG, and blend hydrogels relative to each other did not change during swelling (although the magnitude changed). L929 fibroblasts growth inhibition tests showed that the leachate products of the three gels can be considered noncytotoxic, which is important for their future application in tissue engineering.