Rapid Self-Healing and Thixotropic Organogelation of Amphiphilic Oleanolic Acid-Spermine Conjugates

Zulal Özdemir, David Šaman, Kia Bertula, Manu Lahtinen, Lucie Bednárová, Markéta Pazderková, Lucie Rárová, Nonappa, Zdeněk Wimmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Natural and abundant plant triterpenoids are attractive starting materials for the synthesis of conformationally rigid and chiral building blocks for functional soft materials. Here, we report the rational design of three oleanolic acid-triazole-spermine conjugates, containing either one or two spermine units in the target molecules, using the Cu(I)-catalyzed Huisgen 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition reaction. The resulting amphiphile-like molecules 2 and 3, bearing just one spermine unit in the respective molecules, self-assemble into highly entangled fibrous networks leading to gelation at a concentration as low as 0.5% in alcoholic solvents. Using step-strain rheological measurements, we show rapid self-recovery (up to 96% of the initial storage modulus) and sol ⇔ gel transition under several cycles. Interestingly, rheological flow curves reveal the thixotropic behavior of the gels. To the best of our knowledge, this kind of behavior was not shown in the literature before, neither for a triterpenoid nor for its derivatives. Conjugate 4, having a bolaamphiphile-like structure, was found to be a nongelator. Our results indicate that the position and number of spermine units alter the gelation properties, gel strength, and their self-assembly behavior. Preliminary cytotoxicity studies of the target compounds 2-4 in four human cancer cell lines suggest that the position and number of spermine units affect the biological activity. Our results also encourage exploring other triterpenoids and their derivatives as sustainable, renewable, and biologically active building blocks for multifunctional soft organic nanomaterials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2693-2706
Number of pages14
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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