Biologically Enhanced Starch Bio-Ink for Promoting 3D Cell Growth

Advanced Materials Technologies 2021 Volue 6, Issue 12, Article 2100551

The excellent rheological property has legitimated the suitability of starch hydrogel for extrusion-based 3D printing. However, the inability to promote cell attachment and migration has precluded the non-modified starch hydrogel from direct applications in the biomedical field. Herein, a novel 3D printable nanocomposite starch hydrogel is developed with highly enhanced biocompatibility for promoting 3D cell growth, by formulating with gelatin nanoparticles and collagen. The rheological evaluation reveals the shear-thinning and thixotropic properties of the starch-based hydrogel, as well as the combinatorial effect of collagen and gelatin nanoparticles on maintaining printability and 3D shape fidelity. The homogeneous microporous structure with abundant collagen fibers and gelatin nanoparticles interlace and supplies rich attachment sites for cell growth. Corroborated by the cell metabolic activity study, the multiplied proliferation rate of cells on the 3D printed nanocomposite starch hydrogel scaffold confirms the remarkable enhancement of biological function of the developed starch hydrogel. Hence, the developed nanocomposite starch hydrogel serves as a highly desirable bio-ink for advancing 3D tissue engineering.