359800 Supercritical CO2 Foaming of Thermoplastic Materials Derived from Sorghum and Maize: Proof of Concept Use in Mammalian Cell Culture Applications

Tuesday, November 18, 2014: 9:24 AM
207 (Hilton Atlanta)
Grissel Trujillo-de Santiago1, Mario M. Alvarez2, Roberto Portillo-Lara3, Diana Araíz-Hernández2, Erika García-López4, Cristina Del Barone5, Cecilia Rojas-de Gante6, Silverio García-Lara1, Ciro Angel Rodríguez-González7, Ernesto Di Maio8 and Salvatore Iannace9, (1)Escuela de Biotecnología y Alimentos, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, (2)Centro de Biotecnología-FEMSA, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico, (3)Centro de Biotecnología-FEMSA, Tecnológico de Monterrey at Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico, (4)Centro para la Innovación en Diseño y Tecnología, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico, (5)Istituto di Chimica e Tecnologia dei Polimeri, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Naples, Italy, (6)Departamento de Ingeniería en Biotecnología, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Tlalpan, México, Distrito Federal, Mexico, (7)Centro para la Innovación en Diseño y Tecnología, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico, (8)Department of Chemical, Materials and Production Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy, (9)Institute of Composite and Biomedical Materials, National Research Council of Italy, Portici, Naples, Italy

Background: Foams are high porosity and low density materials. In nature, they are a common architecture. Some of their relevant technological applications include heat and sound insulation, lightweight materials, and tissue engineering scaffolds. Foams derived from natural polymers are particularly attractive for tissue culture due to their biodegradability and bio-compatibility. Here, the foaming potential of an extensive list of materials was assayed, including slabs elaborated from whole flour, the starch component only, or the protein fraction only of sorghum or maize seeds.

Methodology/Principal findings: We used supercritical CO2 to produce foams from thermoplasticized sorghum and maize derived materials. Polyethylene-glycol, sorbitol/glycerol, or urea/formamide were used as plasticizers. We report expansion ratios, porosities, average pore sizes, pore morphologies, and pore size distributions for these materials. High porosity foams were obtained from zein thermoplasticized with polyethylene glycol, and from starch thermoplasticized with urea/formamide. Zein foams had a higher porosity than starch foams (88% and 85%, respectively), and a narrower and more evenly distributed pore size distribution. Starch foams exhibited a wider span of pore sizes and a larger average pore size than zein (208.84 vs. 55.43 μm2, respectively). In proof of concept cell culture experiments, Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells and four different prostate cancer cell lines (PC3, LNCaP, 22RV1, and DU145) proliferated on zein foams.

Conclusions/Significance: We conducted screening and proof-of-concept experiments on the fabrication of foams from cereal-based bio-plastics. We propose the strain at break of the materials to be foamed (as calculated from stress vs. strain rate curves) as a key indicator of foamability. Some of the produced foams exhibit attractive properties (average pore size, pore size distribution, and porosity) for cell culture applications; we were able to establish and sustain mammalian cell cultures on zein foams for extended time periods.

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