Image from ‘Pulping and Pretreatment Affect the Characteristics of Bagasse Inks for Three-dimensional Printing’

Spreading like technological tendrils, new 3D printing hardware, software, and materials are available in countless forms around the globe today—and researchers just keep blowing our minds with new methods for fabrication.

While you may be surprised to hear that 3D printing ink can be created with bagasse, you may be wondering what the heck it is too. A sugarcane byproduct, bagasse is the fiber waste left behind after sugarcane is pressed for juice—and researchers in Norway’s RISE-PFI, Argentina’s Instituto de Materiales de Misiones (IMAM), and Sweden’s RISE Bioscience and Materials have now discovered its uses in bioink. Because the nanocellulose of bagasse is one of the rare materials that promotes the viability of cells in 3D printing, the scientists think it may go beyond operating as a fuel source for creating heat and electricity, but also will help them in making further strides in the biomedical world too.

The discovery of new uses for bagasse in bioprinting, along with research into the effects on this plant fiber, are further outlined in “Pulping and Pretreatment Affect the Characteristics of Bagasse Inks for Three-dimensional Printing.”

“Bagasse is an underutilized agro-industrial residue with great potential as raw material for the production of cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) for a range of applications,” state the researchers, who then went on to evaluate bagasse for use in making CNF.

[Imaget: Gary Chinga-Carrasco, RISE PFI AS]

The team extracted bagasse fibers by using a soda, hydrothermal treatment and then examined it for true functionality in bioprinting.

“The results show that CNF produced from fibers obtained by hydrothermal and soda pulping were less nanofibrillated than the corresponding material produced by soda pulping,” state the scientists. “However, the CNF sample obtained from soda pulp was cytotoxic, apparently due to a larger content of silica particles. All the CNF materials were 3D printable. We conclude that the noncytotoxic CNF produced from hydrothermally and soda treated pulp can potentially be used as inks for 3D printing of biomedical devices.”

The CNFs they made were evaluated in terms of:

  • Morphology
  • Surface chemistry
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Biocompatibility
  • Suitability for 3D printing

The team also created 3D printed models of ears and noses, showing the power of bagasse as a bioprinting tool.

[Image: Gary Chinga-Carrasco, RISE PFI AS]

“The pulping process is important to design inks for 3D printing, having appropriate surface chemistry, chemical composition and nanofibrillar morphology,” says Gary Chinga-Carrasco, one of the authors of the paper. “This is an aspect that has not been considered before in the design and formulation of inks for 3D bioprinting.”

“The inks have potential in 3D printing and may be used for structuring biomedical devices, e.g. wound dressings and scaffolds for drug testing,” continued Chinga-Carrasco. “The non-cytotoxic materials assessed in this study seem to be good candidates for such applications.”

Currently, the research team is still working on refining bagasse as a bioink. Read more about their studies and techniques here. Further work on 3D printing with CNF materials has been undertaken at VTT.

Discuss this article and other 3D printing topics at or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.

[Source: nanowerk]


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