Effects of Nanocellulose on Alginate/Gelatin Bio-inks for Extrusion-based 3D Printing

Chenyang Han, Xinyi Wang, Zhongjin Ni, Yihua Ni, Weiwei Huan, Yan Lv, Shuyang Bai


Cellulose nanofibers (NFC) have attracted special attention in the field of extrusion-based three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting due to their good biocompatibility, excellent mechanical properties, and outstanding shear-thinning property. In this study, by mixing cellulose nanofibers suspension with sodium alginate (SA) and gelatin (GEL) solution, five groups of composite bio-inks with different NFC concentrations were prepared. The effects of NFC on the performance of the SA/GEL matrix hydrogels were analyzed by morphological observation, rheological property testing, mechanical property testing, swelling property testing, and printability analysis. The rheological results showed that the addition of NFC noticeably increased the viscosity of biological inks with low shear rates; therefore, the printed scaffolds maintained their structure better during the 3D printing process. After crosslinking with calcium chloride (CaCl2), the fidelity of the NFC/SA/GEL composite hydrogel structure was better than that of the SA/GEL hydrogel. Moreover, the structural properties were strengthened, and the mechanical stabilities of the composite hydrogels improved when NFC was added. Therefore, this study provided an easy way to improve the printability of extrusion-based 3D printing and the potential use of nanocellulose.


Nanocellulose; Alginate; Gelatin; Extrusion-based 3D printing; Printability

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