3D printing of PCL/nano-hydroxyapatite scaffolds derived from biogenic sources for bone tissue engineering

Francesca Cestari, Mauro Petretta, Yuejiao Yang, Antonella Motta, Brunella Grigolo, Vincenzo M. Sglavo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bioactive composites made of ∽85 wt% poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) and ∽15 wt% nanometric hydroxyapatite (HA) produced from biogenic sources were 3D printed by an extrusion-based process to obtain porous scaffolds suitable for bone regeneration. Three different composite formulations were considered by using HA synthesized from three distinct natural sources, which were collected as food wastes: cuttlefish bones, mussel shells and chicken eggshells. Composition and thermal properties of the materials were analysed by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and x-ray spectroscopy (XRD), while the morphological and mechanical properties of the 3D scaffolds were studied by means of electron microscopy (SEM) and compression tests. Bioactivity was tested by seeding human osteoblast cell line (MG63) onto the scaffolds which were analysed by confocal microscopy and Alamar Blue and PicoGreen® tests after 1 to 7 culture days. The elastic modulus (177–316 MPa) is found to be within the range reported for typical trabecular bones being increased by the presence of the bio-HA particles. Moreover, cells adhesion, viability and proliferation are largely promoted in the scaffolds containing nanometric HA with respect to pure PCL, the best results being revealed when mussel shell-derived HA is used. Indeed, different biological sources result in different cell proliferation rates, pointing that the biological origin has an impact on the cells-scaffold interaction. In general, the results show that PCL/bio-HA scaffolds possess improved mechanical properties and enhanced bioactivity when compared with pure PCL ones.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalSustainable Materials and Technologies
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


  • Cuttlefish bone
  • Mussel shell
  • Eggshell
  • Bioactive composites
  • Bioactivity
  • Natural resources


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