Investigation of crosslinked alginate-di-aldehyde / gelatin (ADA/Gel) hydrogels for long-term cell culture of 3D bioplotted scaffolds


Investigator: Kilian McDonald (Bachelor student) 

Kilian McDonald


Supervisors: Thomas Distler, Prof. Aldo R. Boccaccini

Gelatin is a popular biomaterial when it comes to bioplotting of hydrogels for developing tissue engineering scaffolds. However one of the unwanted properties of gelatin is its fast degradation behaviour at physiological temperatures of 37°C. To prevent this from happening, a procedure is needed to fine-tune the degradation of gelatin and to make the 3D-printed scaffold more thermally resistant, maintaining its mechanical stability and thus rendering it suitable for cell-culture. To assess this problem, there are several approaches for cross-linking gelatin to adjust its degradation behaviour. In this study, ADA (alginate di-aldehyde) in combination with gelatin (ADA/Gel) will be assessed in combination with different crosslinking approaches. ADA/Gel has been shown to be a promising candidate regarding 3D bioplotting [1]. ADA is a product of partially oxidized alginate and its properties can be fine-tuned to fit the gels purpose in different applications [2, 3]. The aim of this Bachelor thesis is to investigate the properties of crosslinked high gelatin content ADA/Gel hydrogels, while the degradation behavior will be assessed with the goal to achieve suitable hydrogels to allow long-term cell culture, required for cartilage tissue engineering. Different crosslinking techniques will be tested and the gel properties regarding degradability, microstructure development and mechanical stability will be examined.

[1] Zehnder, T., Sarker, B., Boccaccini, A. R., & Detsch, R. (2015). Evaluation of an alginate–gelatine crosslinked hydrogel for bioplotting. Biofabrication, 7(2), 025001.

[2] Reakasame, S. and Boccaccini, A. R. (2018). Oxidized Alginate-Based Hydrogels for Tissue Engineering Applications: A Review. Biomacromolecules 19(1) 3–21.

[3] Sarker, B., et al., (2014). Fabrication of alginate–gelatin crosslinked hydrogel microcapsules and evaluation of the microstructure and physico-chemical properties. Journal of Materials Chemistry B, 2(11), 1470-1482.