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Keywords:

  • bacterial cellulose;
  • oxygen;
  • graft;
  • burst pressure

Abstract

Bacterial cellulose (BC) was deposited in tubular form by fermenting Acetobacter xylinum on top of silicone tubes as an oxygenated support and by blowing different concentrations of oxygen, that is, 21% (air), 35%, 50%, and 100%. Mechanical properties such as burst pressure and tensile properties were evaluated for all tubes. The burst pressure of the tubes increased with an increase in oxygen ratio and reached a top value of 880 mmHg at 100% oxygen. The Young's modulus was approximately 5 MPa for all tubes, irrespective of the oxygen ratio. The elongation to break decreased from 30% to 10–20% when the oxygen ratio was increased. The morphology of the tubes was characterized by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). All tubes had an even inner side and a more porous outer side. The cross section indicated that the tubes are composed of layers and that the amount of layers and the yield of cellulose increased with an increase in oxygen ratio. We propose that an internal vessel wall with high density is required for the tube to sustain a certain pressure. An increase in wall thickness by an increase in oxygen ratio might explain the increasing burst pressure with increasing oxygen ratio. The fermentation method used renders it possible to produce branched tubes, tubes with unlimited length and inner diameters. Endothelial cells (ECs) were grown onto the lumen of the tubes. The cells formed a confluent layer after 7 days. The tubes potential as a vascular graft is currently under investigation in a large animal model at the Centre of Vascular Engineering, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2007;97: 425–434. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.