Bioplastics with high biocompatibility

September 1, 2016

Developing new and useful materials with soil bacteria and tissue engineering

RIKEN CSRS and Kaneka Corporation’s joint research with the soil bacteria Ralstonia eutropha has created a highly biocompatible polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) consisting of 2,3-dihydroxybutyrate (DHBA) with hydroxyl groups.

PHA is a bioplastic that accumulates inside microbes, used as a carbon reserve and for energy to cope with nutrient deficiencies. PHA has drawn much attention as a substitute material for petroleum-derived plastic due to its biodegradablity. With low cytotoxicity and high biocompatibility, PHA is also used as a scaffold for cell proliferation in tissue engineering/regenerative medicine.

The team had been seeking to produce PHA with even higher biocompatibility. Modifying R. eutropha genes and using glycolic acid as the carbon source, researchers succeeded in creating a new bioplastic they named PHDVDB. Compared with conventional bioplastics, PHBVDV has higher hydrophilic properties and cell adhesiveness, but did not exhibit significant cytotoxicity. High hydrophilicity is an important factor for the use as cell scaffolds.

Controlling the hydrophilicity of PHBVDB should allow enhancement and further development of physical properties such as cell adhesiveness and biodegradability.


Original article
ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering doi: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.6b00279
C. Insomphun, JA. Chuah, S. Kobayashi, T. Fujiki, M. Higuchi-Takeuchi, K. Morisaki, K. Toyooka, K. Numata,
"Influence of hydroxyl groups on the cell viability of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) scaffolds for tissue engineering".

Keiji Numata; Team Leader
Chayatip Insomphunn; Postdoctoral Researcher
Jo-Ann Chua; Postdoctoral Researcher
Enzyme Research Team