Maintaining shape fidelity of 3D bio-printed scaffolds with soft biomaterials is an ongoing challenge. Here, a rheological investigation focusing on identifying useful physical and mechanical properties directly related to the geometric fidelity of 3D bio-printed scaffolds is presented. To ensure during- and post-printing shape fidelity of the scaffolds, various percentages of Carboxymethyl Cellulose (CMC) (viscosity enhancer) and different calcium salts (CaCl2 and CaSO4, physical cross-linkers) were mixed into alginate before extrusion to realize shape fidelity. The overall solid content of Alginate-Carboxymethyl Cellulose (CMC) was limited to 6%. A set of rheological tests, e.g., flow curves, amplitude tests, and three interval thixotropic tests, were performed to identify and compare the shear-thinning capacity, gelation points, and recovery rate of various compositions. The geometrical fidelity of the fabricated scaffolds was defined by printability and collapse tests. The effect of using multiple cross-linkers simultaneously was assessed. Various large-scale scaffolds were fabricated (up to 5.0 cm) using a pre-crosslinked hybrid. Scaffolds were assessed for the ability to support the growth of Escherichia coli using the Most Probable Number technique to quantify bacteria immediately after inoculation and 24 h later. This pre-crosslinking-based rheological property controlling technique can open a new avenue for 3D bio-fabrication of scaffolds, ensuring proper geometry.

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International Journal of Molecular Sciences



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© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


This is an Open Access article published by MDPI in International Journal of Molecular Sciences in 2021, available online: