Multicomponent polysaccharide alginate-based bioinks
3D-Bioprinting has seen a rapid expansion in the last few years, with an increasing number of reported bioinks. Alginate is a natural biopolymer that forms hydrogels by ionic cross-linking with calcium ions. Due to its biocompatibility and ease of gelation, it is an ideal ingredient for bioinks. This review focuses on recent advances on bioink formulations based on the combination of alginate with other polysaccharides. In particular, the molecular weight of the alginate and its loading level have an impact on the material's performance, as well as the loading of the divalent metal salt and its solubility, which affects the cross-linking of the gel. Alginate is often combined with other polysaccharides that can sigificantly modify the properties of the gel, and can optimise alginate for use in different biological applications. It is also possible to combine alginate with sacrificial polymers, which can temporarily reinforce the 3D printed construct, but then be removed at a later stage. Other additives can be formulated into the gels to enhance performance, including nanomaterials that tune rheological properties, peptides to encourage cell adhesion, or growth factors to direct stem cell differentiation. The ease of formulating multiple components into alginate gels gives them considerable potential for further development. In summary, this review will facilitate the identification of different alginate-polysaccharide bioink formulations and their optimal applications, and help inform the design of second generation bioinks, allowing this relatively simple gel system to achieve more sophisticated control over biological processes.
- This article is part of the themed collections: Journal of Materials Chemistry B Recent Review Articles and Recent Open Access Articles