Research Highlight

Curcumin releasing silk scaffold

doi:10.1038/nindia.2012.114 Published online 30 July 2012

Researchers have created a silk scaffold that is capable of releasing curcumin making it a wonderful dressing material for quick healing of wounds and burns as well as a soft tissue replacement.

They made the curcumin-releasing porous silk fibroin scaffold by simply mixing aqueous silk fibroin solution with curcumin solution and then freeze–thawing the mixture. The scaffold showed uniform pore distribution with an average pore size of ∼115 μm, a degree of swelling of 2.42% and water uptake capacity of 70.81%.

The fibroin also showed thermal stability up to ∼280°C as opposed to encapsulated curcumin which disintegrated at ∼180°C. Studies also revealed that the solvent used to dissolve curcumin helped make the fibroin water-stable. The researchers conducted fluorescence spectroscopy to find that the curcumin was encapsulated in hydrophobic domains in the fibroin. The curcumin was found to diffuse in a slow and sustained release mode.

Through in vitro anticancer, antioxidant, and antimicrobial studies, the researchers found that the biological activity of encapsulated curcumin remained unaltered.

"The fabrication process is simple, reproducible, and does not require any sophisticated instruments or toxic crosslinking agents," says Naresh Kasoju, one of the researchers. The curcumin-loaded fibroin scaffold could also be used in soft tissue replacements including localized postsurgical chemotherapy against tumors, he adds.


  1. Kasoju, N. et al. Fabrication and characterization of curcumin-releasing silk fibroin scaffold. J. Biomed. Mater. Res. doi: 10.1002/jbm.b.32753 (2012)