Recently, much research has focused on the use of biopolymers, which are regarded as biodegradable, natural, and environmentally friendly materials. In this context, biopolymeric nanoparticles have attracted great attention in the last few years due to their multiple applications especially in the field of biomedicine. Ionic liquids have emerged as promising solvents for use in a wide variety of chemical and biochemical processes for their extraordinary properties, which include negligible vapor pressure, high thermal and chemical stability, lower toxicity than conventional organic solvents, and the possibility of tuning their physical–chemical properties by choosing the appropriate cation and anion. We here review the published works concerning the synthesis of biopolymeric nanoparticles using ionic liquids, such as trimethylsilyl cellulose or silk fibroin. We also mention our recent studies describing how high-power ultrasounds are capable of enhancing the dissolution process of silk proteins in ionic liquids and how silk fibroin nanoparticles can be directly obtained from the silk fibroin/ionic liquid solution by rapid desolvation in polar organic solvents. As an example, their potential biomedical application of curcumin-loaded silk fibroin nanoparticles for cancer therapy is also discussed.
Part of the book: Recent Advances in Ionic Liquids