Extending the Functionality of Marine-origin Polysaccharides Through Chemical Modification for Biomedical Applications
Natural polysaccharides are a major class of biomacromolecules with a high degree of biocompatibility, biodegradability, and ability to mimic the natural extracellular matrix (ECM) microenvironment and, therefore, have been receiving increasing attention. Polysaccharides often exhibit interesting and advantageous properties, including bioactivity, different functional groups, and bioadhesive properties, as well as easiness in being tailored to different applications by chemical modification. Their bioactivity depends on the chemical structure, monosaccharide composition, and spatial conformation. The chemical modification of polysaccharides and the introduction of specific functional groups significantly increase their structural diversity, by promoting or adding new (bio)functionalities. Polysaccharide-based biomaterials are an emerging class in multiple biomedical applications, including in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine (TERM) and drug delivery. Most of the polysaccharides used in biomedical applications derive from natural sources, mainly from marine environments, particularly, alginate and chitin (CH). This chapter focuses on the recent progress in the field of chemical modification of marine-origin polysaccharides, including i) chitosan (CHT), ii) hyaluronic acid (HA), iii) alginate (ALG), iv) glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and sulfated glycans, v) laminarin (LAM), and vi) agarose, for the development of biomaterials for biomedical applications.