a Swansea University WCPC
b Centre for NanoHealth, College of Engineering, Swansea University, Swansea, UK.
c Tissue Engineering and Reparative Dentistry, Cardiff University School of Dentistry, Cardiff, UK.
d Paper and Fibre Research Institute (PFI), Høgskoleringen 6b, NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway.
Nanocellulose has a variety of advantages, which make the material most suitable for use in biomedical devices such as wound dressings. The material is strong, allows for production of transparent films, provides a moist wound healing environment, and can form elastic gels with bioresponsive characteristics. In this study, we explore the application of nanocellulose as a bioink for modifying film surfaces by a bioprinting process. Two different nanocelluloses were used, prepared with TEMPO mediated oxidation and a combination of carboxymethylation and periodate oxidation. The combination of carboxymethylation and periodate oxidation produced a homogeneous material with short nanofibrils, having widths <20nm and lengths <200nm. The small dimensions of the nanofibrils reduced the viscosity of the nanocellulose, thus yielding a material with good rheological properties for use as a bioink. The nanocellulose bioink was thus used for printing 3D porous structures, which is exemplified in this study. We also demonstrated that both nanocelluloses did not support bacterial growth, which is an interesting property of these novel materials.