Embedding of Bacterial Cellulose Nanofibers within PHEMA Hydrogel Matrices: Tunable Stiffness Composites with Potential for Biomedical Applications
Journal article, 2018
Bacterial cellulose (BC) and poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (PHEMA) hydrogels are both considered as biocompatible materials with potential use in various biomedical applications including cartilage, cardiovascular stent, and soft tissue engineering. In this work, the "ever-wet" process based on in situ UV radical polymerization of HEMA monomer in BC nanofibrous structure impregnated with HEMA was used, and a series of BC-PHEMA composites was prepared. The composite structures were characterized by ATR FT-IR spectroscopy, WAXD, SEM, and TEM techniques. The strategy of using densified BC material of various cellulose fiber contents was applied to improve mechanical properties. The mechanical properties were tested under tensile, dynamic shear, and relaxation modes. The final composites contained 1 to 20 wt% of BC; the effect of the reinforcement degree on morphology, swelling capacity, and mechanical properties was investigated. The biocompatibility test of BC-PHEMA composites was performed using mouse mesenchymal stem cells.