Mehrban, N., Hunt, N., Smith, Alan M. and Grover, Liam M. (2010) A comparative study of iota carrageenan, kappa carrageenan and alginate hydrogels as tissue engineering scaffolds. In: Gums and stabilisers for the food industry. Royal Society of Chemistry, pp. 407-413. ISBN 9781847558312

The increasingly aging population and lack of donor tissue has pushed tissue regeneration to the forefront of modern biomedical research and biopolymers traditionally found in the food and pharmaceutical industry are increasingly being used in tissue engineering. The development of tissue engineering provides the opportunity to take a sample of cells from a patient which are then cultured in vitro to organise into functional tissue that can then be implanted back into the patient, ultimately, overcoming problems of tissue rejection and the need for donor tissue. To grow replacement tissue requires a suitable substrate or scaffold for cells to attach, proliferate and organise into viable tissue that can be safely implanted into the body. Biopolymers and hydrogel forming biopolymers in particular, have been shown to be a promising scaffold material due having properties that resemble the environment of the mammalian extracellular matrix (ECM). In addition properties such as mild gelation conditions, potential for good mass transport of nutrients and waste molecules, nontoxic nature and biological compatibility provide an advantage over synthetic polymers and ceramic and metallic materials which have also been used as tissue engineering scaffolds.

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