Chia (Salvia hispanica) and basil (Ocimum basilicum) seeds have the intrinsic ability to form a hydrogel concomitant with moisture-retention, slow releasing capability and proposed health benefits such as curbing diabetes and obesity by delaying digestion process. However, the underlying mode of gelation at nanoscopic level is not clearly explained or explored. The present study elucidates and corroborates the hypothesis that the gelling behavior of such seeds is due to their nanoscale 3D-network formation. The preliminary study revealed the influence of several conditions like polarity, pH and hydrophilicity/ hydrophobicity on fiber extrusion from the seeds which leads to gelation. Optical microscopic analysis clearly demonstrated bundles of fibers emanating from the seed coat while in contact with water, and live growth of fibers to form 3D network. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM) studies confirmed 3D network formation with fiber diameters ranging from 20 to 50 nm.
Samateh, Malick; Pottackal, Neethu; Manafirasi, Setareh; Vidyasagar, Adiyala; Maldarelli, Charles; and John, George, "Unravelling the secret of seedbased gels in water: the nanoscale 3D network formation" (2018). CUNY Academic Works.