Globular and Fibrous Proteins Modified with Deep Eutectic Solvents: Materials for Drug Delivery.

Proteinaceous materials have numerous structures, many of which aid in the roles they perform. Some need to impart strength while others need elasticity or toughness. This study is the first to investigate the modification of both globular and fibrous protein, namely, zein, soy protein and gelatin, using deep eutectic solvents (DES) to form bioplastics, which may have application in drug delivery systems. The effects of DES content on the thermal and mechanical properties of the material were determined. Zein and soy are globular proteins, which both showed a significant change in the properties by the addition of DES. Both of these materials were, however, weaker and less ductile than the starch based materials previously reported in the literature. The material made from gelatin, a fibrous protein, showed variable properties depending on how long they were in contact with each other before pressing. Conductivity and NMR measurements indicate the existence of a continuous liquid phase, which are useful in the demonstrated application of transdermal drug delivery systems. It is shown that pharmaceutical DESs can be gelled with gelatin and this method is three times faster at delivering a pharmaceutical active ingredient across the skin barrier than from a corresponding solid formulation.