A new method is developed to prepare silk hydrogels and silk-pectin hydrogels via dialysis against methanol to obtain hydrogels with high concentrations of silk fibroin. The relationship between the mechanical and biological properties and the structure of the silk-pectin hydrogels is subsequently evaluated. The present results suggest that pectin associates with silk molecules when the silk concentration exceeds 15 wt%, suggesting that a silk concentration of over 15 wt% is critical to construct interacting silk-pectin networks. The silk-pectin hydrogel reported here is composed of a heterogeneous network, which is different from fiber-reinforced, interpenetrated networks and double-network hydrogels, as well as high-stiffness hydrogels (elastic modulus of 4.7 ± 0.9 MPa, elastic stress limit of 3.9 ± 0.1 MPa, and elastic strain limit of 48.4 ± 0.5%) with regard to biocompatibility and biodegradability.
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