Morelli Andrea

Supervisor: Prof. Federica Chiellini

Title: Chemical modification and processing of polysaccharides as a versatile platform of biomaterials from renewable resources

Abstract: In recent years the scientific interest toward bio-based polymers is gaining a tremendous growth and it is estimated to increase steadily in the future. Natural polymers represent a valuable platform of materials for replacing synthetic polymers of petroleum origin since their abundance and renewability are both constituting valid tools to limit the uncontrollable depletion of fossil resources. The aim of the present work is the exploitation of polysaccharides from renewable resources in the development of materials suitable for biomedical applications. Polysaccharides do really represent the ideal polymeric matrices since they are inherently biocompatible, biodegradable, chemical versatile and obtainable from renewable resources. The most promising strategies to obtain polysaccharides are the extraction from waste biomasses and the production through microbial fermentation processes by utilizing waste resources as substrates. In the present PhD thesis, polysaccharides from both origins will be used and converted into materials suitable for biomedical applications. In particular the research will be focused on the exploitation of algal biomass for the extraction of sulphated polysaccharides of algal origin and their use as injectable systems for tissue engineering and/or drug delivery and the exploitation of polysaccharides obtainable from microbial fermentation processes, such as dextran, in the development of novel materials for analytical applications. The operative steps will be designed to not compromising the sustainability of the developed processes by minimizing the use of reagents and experimental conditions harmful for the environment. The developed materials will be submitted to chemico-physical and biological analysis and suitably tested with specific characterizations to evaluate their feasibility for being applied in the envisaged applications.