Seaweed cellulose scaffolds derived from green macroalgae for tissue engineering

Extracellular matrix (ECM) provides structural support for cell growth, attachments and proliferation, which greatly impact cell fate. Marine macroalgae species Ulva sp. and Cladophora sp. were selected for their structural variations, porous and fibrous respectively, and evaluated as alternative ECM candidates. Decellularization–recellularization approach was used to fabricate seaweed cellulose-based scaffolds for in-vitro mammalian cell growth. Both scaffolds were confirmed nontoxic to fibroblasts, indicated by high viability for up to 40 days in culture. Each seaweed cellulose structure demonstrated distinct impact on cell behavior and proliferation rates. The Cladophora sp. scaffold promoted elongated cells spreading along its fibers’ axis, and a gradual linear cell growth, while the Ulva sp. porous surface, facilitated rapid cell growth in all directions, reaching saturation at week 3.

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Fig: Marine green macroalgae: Thallus morphology macro view of (A) Ulva sp. and (D) Cladophora sp. Light microscopy observation (40×) of middle region reveals (B) Ulva sp. micro-porous structure and (E) Cladophora sp. branching fibrous filamentous structure. Hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining of cross-sections reveal tissue fragments of (C) Ulva sp. by-layer porous structure and of (F)Cladophora sp., fibers. (G) Macroalgae species cultivated in a Macroalgae Photo-Bioreactors (MPBR) system, design of Chemodanov, A., the Golberg Environmental Bioengineering Lab, Porter, Tel Aviv University. Cylindrical sleeve dimensions: 100 × 40 cm, thickness: 200 µm. *Scale Bars: (A) = 2.5 cm, (B,E) = 20 µm, (C,F) = 100 µm, (D) = 0.25 cm.

As such, seaweed-cellulose is an environmentally, biocompatible novel biomaterial, with structural variations that hold a great potential for diverse biomedical applications, while promoting aquaculture and ecological agenda.

Bar-Shai, N., Sharabani-Yosef, O., Zollmann, M. et al. Seaweed cellulose scaffolds derived from green macroalgae for tissue engineering. Sci Rep 11, 11843 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-90903-2

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