Phosphonium versus Ammonium Compact Polyelectrolyte Complex Networks with Alginate-Comparing Their Properties and Cargo Encapsulation
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Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society. Phosphonium and ammonium polymers can be combined with polyanions to form polyelectrolyte complex (PEC) networks, with potential application in self-healing materials and drug delivery vehicles. While various structures and compositions have been explored, to the best of our knowledge, analogous ammonium and phosphonium networks have not been directly compared to evaluate the effects of phosphorus versus nitrogen cations on the network properties. In this study, we prepared PECs from sodium alginate and poly[triethyl(4-vinylbenzyl)phosphonium chloride], poly[triethyl(4-vinylbenzyl)ammonium chloride], poly[tri(n-butyl)(4-vinylbenzyl)phosphonium chloride], poly[tri(n-butyl)(4-vinylbenzyl)ammonium chloride], and poly[tris(hydroxypropyl)(4-vinylbenzyl)phosphonium chloride]. These networks were ultracentrifuged to form compact PECs (CoPECs), and their physical properties, chemical composition, and self-healing abilities were studied. In phosphate-buffered saline, the phosphonium polymer networks swelled to a higher degree than their ammonium salt-containing counterparts. However, the viscous and elastic moduli, along with their relaxation times, were quite similar for analogous phosphoniums and ammoniums. The CoPEC networks were loaded with anions including fluorescein, etodolac, and methotrexate, resulting in loading capacities ranging from 5 to 14 w/w % and encapsulation efficiencies from 29 to 93%. Anion release occurred over a period of several days to weeks, with the rate depending largely on the anion structure and polycation substituent groups. Whether the cation was an ammonium or a phosphonium had a smaller effect on the release rates. The cytotoxicities of the networks and polycations were investigated and found to depend on both the network and polycation structure.