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Keywords:

  • biodegradable;
  • biomaterials;
  • porous materials;
  • mechanical properties;
  • elastomers

ABSTRACT

The fabrication of a biomaterial scaffold, with adequate physical and structural properties for tissue engineering applications, is reported. A blend of starch with ethylene-vinyl alcohol (50/50 w/w, SEVA-C) is used to produce 3D fibre-mesh scaffolds by wet-spinning. The scaffolds are characterized in terms of morphology, porosity, interconnectivity, and pore size, using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and microcomputed tomography (μCT). The degradation behavior, as well as the mechanical properties of the scaffolds, is investigated in presence of alpha-amylase enzyme at physiological concentration. Scaffolds with porosities ranging from 43 to 52%, interconnectivity of ∼70.5% and pore size between 118 and 159 μm, can be fabricated using the proposed methodology. The scaffolds exhibit an elastic behavior in the wet state with a compressive modulus of 7.96 ± 0.32 MPa. Degradation studies show that SEVA-C scaffolds are susceptible to enzymatic degradation by alpha-amylase, confirmed by the increase of weight loss (40% of weight loss after 12 weeks) and presence of degradation products (reducing sugars) in solution. The diameter of SEVA-C scaffolds decreases with degradation time, increasing the overall porosity, interconnectivity and pore size. In vitro cell studies with human osteosarcoma cell line (SaOs-2) showed a nontoxic and cytocompatible behavior of the developed fibre mesh scaffolds. The positive cellular response, together with structural and degradable properties, suggests that 3D SEVA-C fibre-meshes may be good candidates as tissue engineering scaffolds. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 40504.