Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 54, Issue 9, pp 7198–7210 | Cite as

Evaluation of cellulose nanocrystal addition on morphology, compression modulus and cytotoxicity of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) scaffolds

  • Thaís Larissa do Amaral MontanheiroEmail author
  • Larissa Stieven Montagna
  • Viorica Patrulea
  • Olivier Jordan
  • Gerrit Borchard
  • Gabriela Matheus Monteiro Lobato
  • Luiz Henrique Catalani
  • Ana Paula Lemes
Materials for life sciences


Nanocomposite scaffolds of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) with 1, 2 and 3% (wt) of cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) were produced by thermally induced phase separation. CNC presented an average length of 91 ± 26 nm and average diameter of 7 ± 1 nm, determined by atomic force microscopy (AFM). Field emission gun scanning electron microscopy (FEG-SEM) and X-ray microtomography showed porous morphology with interconnected pores, porosity between 41 and 77% and micron-sized CNC dispersion along the samples. Pore distribution after introducing CNC was less regular with an average reduction of 37% in the porosity. The compression modulus was improved about 28% for PHBV/1% CNC, 25% for PHBV/2% CNC and 63% for PHBV/3% CNC. Mouse fibroblasts attached and proliferated better on PHBV/CNC scaffolds surface than on neat PHBV or tissue culture plate controls. After 10 days of cell culture, PHBV/2% CNC sample enhanced cell proliferation with 42%, compared to neat PHBV. Therefore, the addition of CNC can improve both compressive modulus and cell proliferation, making the composite scaffold a potential candidate for tissue engineering.



We would like to thank Drª Maria Lucia Brison from Associated Laboratory of Sensors and Materials at National Institute of Space Research for FEG-SEM micrographs and Dr. João Paulo Barros Machado from Associated Laboratory of Sensors and Materials at National Institute of Space Research for AFM images. We would also thank the Nanostructured Soft Materials Laboratory and Brazilian Nanotechnology National Laboratory, LNNano, for the use of X-ray microtomography facility.


This study was funded by the Brazilian Funding institutions CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior), CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico) (476131/2013-8, 153640/2016-2 and 133130/2016-9) and FAPESP (Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo) (2013/27064-9 and 2011/21442-6).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thaís Larissa do Amaral Montanheiro
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Larissa Stieven Montagna
    • 2
  • Viorica Patrulea
    • 3
  • Olivier Jordan
    • 3
  • Gerrit Borchard
    • 3
  • Gabriela Matheus Monteiro Lobato
    • 4
  • Luiz Henrique Catalani
    • 4
  • Ana Paula Lemes
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Nanotechnology, Division of Fundamental SciencesTechnological Institute of AeronauticsSão José dos CamposBrazil
  2. 2.Technology Laboratory of Polymers and BiopolymersFederal University of São PauloSão José dos CamposBrazil
  3. 3.School of Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of Geneva, University of LausanneGenevaSwitzerland
  4. 4.Laboratory of Polymeric BiomaterialsInstitute of Chemistry, University of São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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