The purpose of this study was to evaluate the characteristics of a chitosan film cross-linked by a naturally occurring compound, aglycone geniposidic acid (aGSA). This newly developed aGSA-cross-linked chitosan film may be used as an edible film. The chitosan film without cross-linking (fresh) and the glutaraldehyde-cross-linked chitosan film were used as controls. The characteristics of test chitosan films evaluated were their degree of cross-linking, swelling ratio, mechanical properties, water vapor permeability, antimicrobial capability, cytotoxicity, and enzymatic degradability. It was found that cross-linking of chitosan films by aGSA (at a concentration up to 0.8 mM) significantly increased its ultimate tensile strength but reduced its strain at fracture and swelling ratio. There was no significant difference in the antimicrobial capability between the cross-linked chitosan films and their fresh counterpart. However, the aGSA-cross-linked chitosan film had a lower cytotoxicity, a slower degradation rate, and a relatively lower water vapor permeability as compared to the glutaraldehyde-cross-linked film. These results suggested that the aGSA-cross-linked chitosan film may be a promising material as an edible film.
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