Natural deep eutectic solvents (NADES) have previously shown antibacterial properties alone or in combination with photosensitizers and light. In this study, we investigated the behavior of the structural protein collagen in a NADES solution. A combination of collagen and NADES adds the unique wound healing properties of collagen to the potential antibacterial effect of the NADES. The behavior of collagen in a NADES composed of citric acid and xylitol and aqueous dilutions thereof was assessed by spectroscopic, calorimetric and viscosity methods. Collagen exhibited variable unfolding properties dependent on the type of material (telo- or atelocollagen) and degree of aqueous dilution of the NADES. The results indicated that both collagen types were susceptible to unfolding in undiluted NADES. Collagen dissolved in highly diluted NADES showed similar results to collagen dissolved in acetic acid (i.e., NADES network possibly maintained). Based on the ability to dissolve collagen while maintaining its structural properties, NADES is regarded as a potential excipient in collagen-based products. This is the first study describing the solubility and structural changes of an extracellular matrix protein in NADES.
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