Synthesis and primary characterization of self-assembled peptide-based hydrogels.
Hydrogels based on peptide self-assembly form an important class of biomaterials that find application in tissue engineering and drug delivery. It is essential to prepare peptides with high purity to achieve batch-to-batch consistency affording hydrogels with reproducible properties. Automated solid-phase peptide synthesis coupled with optimized Fmoc (9-fluorenylmethoxy-carbonyl) chemistry to obtain peptides in high yield and purity is discussed. Details of isolating a desired peptide from crude synthetic mixtures and assessment of the peptide's final purity by high-performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry are provided. Beyond the practical importance of synthesis and primary characterization, techniques used to investigate the properties of hydrogels are briefly discussed.