Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 98, Issue 17, pp 7423–7435 | Cite as

Biocompatibility evaluation of densified bacterial nanocellulose hydrogel as an implant material for auricular cartilage regeneration

  • Héctor Martínez Ávila
  • Silke Schwarz
  • Eva-Maria Feldmann
  • Athanasios Mantas
  • Achim von Bomhard
  • Paul GatenholmEmail author
  • Nicole Rotter
Biotechnological products and process engineering


Bacterial nanocellulose (BNC), synthesized by the bacterium Gluconacetobacter xylinus, is composed of highly hydrated fibrils (99 % water) with high mechanical strength. These exceptional material properties make BNC a novel biomaterial for many potential medical and tissue engineering applications. Recently, BNC with cellulose content of 15 % has been proposed as an implant material for auricular cartilage replacement, since it matches the mechanical requirements of human auricular cartilage. This study investigates the biocompatibility of BNC with increased cellulose content (17 %) to evaluate its response in vitro and in vivo. Cylindrical BNC structures (Ø48 × 20 mm) were produced, purified in a built-in house perfusion system, and compressed to increase the cellulose content in BNC hydrogels. The reduction of endotoxicity of the material was quantified by bacterial endotoxin analysis throughout the purification process. Afterward, the biocompatibility of the purified BNC hydrogels with cellulose content of 17 % was assessed in vitro and in vivo, according to standards set forth in ISO 10993. The endotoxin content in non-purified BNC (2,390 endotoxin units (EU)/ml) was reduced to 0.10 EU/ml after the purification process, level well below the endotoxin threshold set for medical devices. Furthermore, the biocompatibility tests demonstrated that densified BNC hydrogels are non-cytotoxic and cause a minimal foreign body response. In support with our previous findings, this study concludes that BNC with increased cellulose content of 17 % is a promising non-resorbable biomaterial for auricular cartilage tissue engineering, due to its similarity with auricular cartilage in terms of mechanical strength and host tissue response.


Bacterial cellulose Depyrogenation Endotoxin analysis Biocompatibility Auricular cartilage tissue engineering 



The authors acknowledge ERANET/EuroNanoMed (EAREG-406340-131009/1) for funding this work; Veronika Fuss and Anette Jork at Cell Med AG, Alzenau, Germany, for the support with histopathological evaluation and cytotoxicity testing; Alexander Elsaesser at Ulm University Medical Center, Ulm, Germany, for helping with the animal study; and Johan Sundberg, Anne Wendel, and Professor Vratislav Langer at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden, for the SEM analysis, ESCA, and XRD measurements, respectively.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Héctor Martínez Ávila
    • 1
  • Silke Schwarz
    • 2
  • Eva-Maria Feldmann
    • 2
  • Athanasios Mantas
    • 1
  • Achim von Bomhard
    • 2
  • Paul Gatenholm
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nicole Rotter
    • 2
  1. 1.Biopolymer Technology, Department of Chemical and Biological EngineeringChalmers University of TechnologyGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.Department of OtorhinolaryngologyUlm University Medical CenterUlmGermany

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