The bioplastic PHAs developed by bio-on can be used to regenerate human tissue, notably to create support structures (scaffolds) for cultured bone cells; structures through which it is possible to regenerate a human bone. This is possible because this material, 100% biodegradable in water, is also extremely bio-compatible, as shown by a study by a team of Italian researchers. The first results of this study are being published in major international specialized scientific journals.
“It has been amply demonstrated in writings on the subject that polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are materials well suited to be used in tissue regeneration from cell cultures,” explains Paola Fabbri, a researcher at the Enzo Ferrari Department of Engineering at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. “In our laboratory, we’ve shown how this material, when properly combined with ceramic or vitreous osteoinductive particles in highly porous structures, is suitable for the construction of composite scaffolds devoid of cytotoxicity. Biological validation tests with cell proliferation assays have demonstrated that bone cells are able to adhere fully to these scaffolds, and to give rise to a supported process of tissue regeneration”.
In the future, the properties of this material, especially its extreme bio-compatibility, will enable its use to be extended to the regeneration of other tissues, thanks to the design of bioresorbable scaffolds in vivo, i.e., which are absorbed by the human body and therefore do not need removal at the end of the tissue regeneration process.
“We’re extremely pleased with these results”, says Marco Astorri, CEO and co-founder of bio-on “because the biomedical sector is one of the many in which our biopolymers can be used (obtained in this case from by-products from Co.Pro.B., the leading Italian manufacturer of sugar beet). We’ve already finalized a deal with Virdhi (virdhi.com) an innovative start-up that develops advanced materials for biomedical use, and in the months ahead we’ll be doing the same with other similar initiatives in the world.”
Founded in 2007, bio-on designed and patented the first bioplastic PHAs in the world to be 100% naturally biodegradable in water and soil. This outstanding product was created by transforming residues from sugar production, from both beet and cane, using a natural production process without the use of organic chemical solvents. In around 10 days the product dissolves in river water without leaving any traces. bio-on’s bioplastic PHAs transform a waste product that would otherwise be discarded (a cost thus becomes a resource) and therefore have no impact on the food chain, contrary to what happens for other types of “bio” products like biofuels or other bioplastics that use cereals. bio-on’s patented bioplastics have extraordinary properties: they are heat-resistant up to 200°C (392ºF), they are impervious to gases and liquids, and have excellent mechanical performance. For this reason it is possible to design an infinite range of objects in all fields where traditional plastic is nowadays used. The biodegradability of bio-on’s bioplastics was certified in 2008 by Vinçotte. bio-on is an Intellectual Property Company and supplies technology to produce or use PHAs on the basis of a license that restricts use to a particular territory or to a specific business area.
Source: bio-on, press release, 2013-08-29.