Poly(hydroxyalkanoates) (PHAs) with differing material properties, namely, the homo-polymer poly(3-hydroxybutyrate), P(3HB), the copolymer poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hy-droxyvalerate), P(3HB-co-3HV), with a 3HV content of 25 wt.% and a medium chain length PHA, and mcl-PHA, mainly composed of 3-hydroxydecanoate, were studied as scaffolding material for cell culture. P(3HB) and P(3HB-co-3HV) were individually spun into fibers, as well as blends of the mcl-PHA with each of the scl-PHAs. An overall biopolymer concentration of 4 wt.% was used to prepare the electrospinning solutions, using chloroform as the solvent. A stable electrospinning process and good quality fibers were obtained for a solution flow rate of 0.5 mL h−1, a needle tip collector distance of 20 cm and a voltage of 12 kV for P(3HB) and P(3HB-co-3HV) solutions, while for the mcl-PHA the distance was increased to 25 cm and the voltage to 15 kV. The scaffolds’ hy-drophilicity was significantly increased under exposure to oxygen plasma as a surface treatment. Complete wetting was obtained for the oxygen plasma treated scaffolds and the water uptake degree increased in all treated scaffolds. The biopolymers crystallinity was not affected by the electro-spinning process, while their treatment with oxygen plasma decreased their crystalline fraction. Human dermal fibroblasts were able to adhere and proliferate within the electrospun PHA-based scaffolds. The P(3HB-co-3HV): mcl-PHA oxygen plasma treated scaffold highlighted the most promising results with a cell adhesion rate of 40 ± 8%, compared to 14 ± 4% for the commercial oxygen plasma treated polystyrene scaffold Alvetex™. Scaffolds based on P(3HB-co-3HV): mcl-PHA blends produced by electrospinning and submitted to oxygen plasma exposure are therefore promising biomaterials for the development of scaffolds for tissue engineering.
- Oxygen plasma