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Special Issue "State-of-the-Art Materials Science in Italy 2017"

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Carla Renata Arciola

1.Head of the Research Unit on Implant Infections, Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute, Via di Barbiano 1/10, 40136 Bologna, Italy
2. Professor of General Pathology, Medical School, University of Bologna, Via S. Giacomo 14, 40126 Bologna, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: anti-adhesive surfaces; Anti-biofilm agents; Anti-biofouling materials; Antibiotic-loaded biomaterials; Anti-infective materials; Anti-infective tissue regeneration membranes; Bioactive antibacterial coatings; Materials delivering antimicrobials; Covalent conjugation of antimicrobial peptides; (GTR/GBR) membrane with anti-infective properties; Implant infections; Multilayer antibacterial films; Periprosthetic infections; Photocatalytic coatings for hygienic surfaces; Technologies and nano-technologies for infection-resistant surfaces
Guest Editor
Dr. Marco Salerno

IIT – Italian Institute of Technology, Nanophysics Department, 16163 Genova Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: dental materials; atomic force microscopy; anodic porous alumina; composites; nanoindentation; surface treatment of dental implants; nanoporous oxides of valve metals

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

In Italy, the materials science is protagonist of a remarkable development, which can be attributed to several factors including the excellence of Italian academic and industrial research, as well as to the excellent capacity of Italian companies to turn innovation into valuable products. 

These advancements are particularly notable in the health area. The biotech companies in Italy are almost 500 and more than half of these are companies that dedicate over 75% of their total R & D investment in biotech researches. In particular, more than 250 companies are engaged in research of new therapeutic and diagnostic tools, the core activity being the research and applications of nanostructured materials.

In the academic area, the interest on materials and biomaterials is oriented on both research and high formation. An increasing number of research papers in the field of new biomaterials is yearly published and new PhD courses on these items are activated in Italian Universities.

For example, in the field of medical tissue engineering, interesting hot topics are presently cell-based biomaterials and nanoparticles coatings aiming to repair bone and joint defects, or biomaterials able to tune the inflammatory response. Additionally, multifunctional polymeric nanoconstructs for drug delivery and imaging open new perspectives in the field of nano-oncology. Similarly, an active field of development for biomaterials is that of dental research, from restorative composites or glass-ionomer cements, to bioactive implant materials.

On the industrial side, materials science is producing innovative materials for food packaging, aiming to avoid the migration of toxic substances from the envelop to the food or to avoid water and oil leakage from the food to the container. 

Additionally, vegetable substances are of interest in the field of materials not only as food to be protected but also as a source for bioplastics, such as for raw starch and cellulose but also for by-products of the agricultural foods as is the case of tomato skin.

Polymer fibers are increasingly employed, particularly in the field of innovative biomedical devices for wound care. For example, electrospun fibers can be designed to be ultrafine and to give mechanical flexibility and conformability to non-woven materials for wound dressing and coverage of the injured tissues, protection against infections and dehydration, transport of nutrients, retention of moisture and absorption of exudates. New materials, possibly modified by hybrid formulations including inorganic functional materials such as graphene or other carbon-based nanofillers, should guarantee adhesion, proliferation and differentiation of cells during tissue regeneration and delivery of drugs, as anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agents. Preventing infection is the main focus on wound care. In this connection, essential oils or other natural compounds from plants appear promising additives to be encapsulated in advanced biomedical devices.

Besides the mentioned innovative materials, other innovative issues are welcome.

This special issue is aimed at collecting excellent papers that will be of interest to scholars in the field.

Prof. Dr. Carla Renata  Arciola
Dr. Marco  Salerno
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Materials is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • 3D printed scaffolds

  • Alloys and intermetallics

  • Anti-fouling and bacteria repelling surfaces

  • Bactericidal coatings

  • Anti-bacterial surfaces

  • Anti-biofilm surfaces

  • Anti-infective biomaterials

  • Anti-infective catheters

  • Phytocompounds for anti-infective and anti-inflammatory biomaterials

  • Infection-resistant surfaces

  • Nanocapsules

  • Nanoparticle-mediated delivery systems

  • Bioactive implant materials

  • Biomaterials doped with anti-inflammatory agents

  • Biomaterials in bone repair

  • Biomaterials in oncology

  • Biomaterials in tissue engineering

  • Biomaterials technologies for antimicrobial properties

  • Biomaterials with wound-healing properties

  • Bioresorbable materials

  • Carbon based nanomaterials

  • Cell-based biomaterials

  • Colloids

  • Electrospun scaffolds

  • Green synthesis of metal nanoparticles

  • Hierarchical material structures and metamaterials

  • Hyaluronic Acid-based scaffolds for cartilage repair

  • Multifunctional polymeric nanoconstructs for drug delivery

  • Multilayered biomaterials for osteochondral regeneration

  • Nanocoatings

  • Nanomaterials

  • Nanosized delivery systems

  • Natural phenolpolymers: food and health applications

  • Oxides and ceramics

  • Phytofabricated biomaterials

  • Polymer-based biosensors

  • Polymers and composites

  • Porous materials

  • Restorative composites in dentistry

  • Scaffold fixation by magnetic forces

  • Scaffold supporting osteogenic differentiation of bone marrow cells

  • Scaffold to capture and kill cancer cells

  • Scaffolds for blood vessel regeneration

  • Self-assembled and self-organized materials

  • Silver-coated prosthesis in oncological surgery

  • Substitutes for articular cartilages

  • Thin films and coatings

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Nanoscale Topographical Characterization of Orbital Implant Materials
Materials 2018, 11(5), 660; doi:10.3390/ma11050660 (registering DOI)
Received: 31 March 2018 / Revised: 14 April 2018 / Accepted: 23 April 2018 / Published: 24 April 2018
PDF Full-text (2089 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The search for an ideal orbital implant is still ongoing in the field of ocular biomaterials. Major limitations of currently-available porous implants include the high cost along with a non-negligible risk of exposure and postoperative infection due to conjunctival abrasion. In the effort
[...] Read more.
The search for an ideal orbital implant is still ongoing in the field of ocular biomaterials. Major limitations of currently-available porous implants include the high cost along with a non-negligible risk of exposure and postoperative infection due to conjunctival abrasion. In the effort to develop better alternatives to the existing devices, two types of new glass-ceramic porous implants were fabricated by sponge replication, which is a relatively inexpensive method. Then, they were characterized by direct three-dimensional (3D) contact probe mapping in real space by means of atomic force microscopy in order to assess their surface micro- and nano-features, which were quantitatively compared to those of the most commonly-used orbital implants. These silicate glass-ceramic materials exhibit a surface roughness in the range of a few hundred nanometers (Sq within 500–700 nm) and topographical features comparable to those of clinically-used “gold-standard” alumina and polyethylene porous orbital implants. However, it was noted that both experimental and commercial non-porous implants were significantly smoother than all the porous ones. The results achieved in this work reveal that these porous glass-ceramic materials show promise for the intended application and encourage further investigation of their clinical suitability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Materials Science in Italy 2017)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle 3D Printing of Thermo-Responsive Methylcellulose Hydrogels for Cell-Sheet Engineering
Materials 2018, 11(4), 579; doi:10.3390/ma11040579
Received: 6 March 2018 / Revised: 30 March 2018 / Accepted: 4 April 2018 / Published: 10 April 2018
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Abstract
A possible strategy in regenerative medicine is cell-sheet engineering (CSE), i.e., developing smart cell culture surfaces from which to obtain intact cell sheets (CS). The main goal of this study was to develop 3D printing via extrusion-based bioprinting of methylcellulose (MC)-based hydrogels. Hydrogels
[...] Read more.
A possible strategy in regenerative medicine is cell-sheet engineering (CSE), i.e., developing smart cell culture surfaces from which to obtain intact cell sheets (CS). The main goal of this study was to develop 3D printing via extrusion-based bioprinting of methylcellulose (MC)-based hydrogels. Hydrogels were prepared by mixing MC powder in saline solutions (Na2SO4 and PBS). MC-based hydrogels were analyzed to investigate the rheological behavior and thus optimize the printing process parameters. Cells were tested in vitro on ring-shaped printed hydrogels; bulk MC hydrogels were used for comparison. In vitro tests used murine embryonic fibroblasts (NIH/3T3) and endothelial murine cells (MS1), and the resulting cell sheets were characterized analyzing cell viability and immunofluorescence. In terms of CS preparation, 3D printing proved to be an optimal approach to obtain ring-shaped CS. Cell orientation was observed for the ring-shaped CS and was confirmed by the degree of circularity of their nuclei: cell nuclei in ring-shaped CS were more elongated than those in sheets detached from bulk hydrogels. The 3D printing process appears adequate for the preparation of cell sheets of different shapes for the regeneration of complex tissues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Materials Science in Italy 2017)
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Open AccessArticle New Parameters to Quantitatively Express the Invasiveness of Bacterial Strains from Implant-Related Orthopaedic Infections into Osteoblast Cells
Materials 2018, 11(4), 550; doi:10.3390/ma11040550
Received: 21 February 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 27 March 2018 / Published: 3 April 2018
PDF Full-text (4610 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Complete eradication of bacterial infections is often a challenging task, especially in presence of prosthetic devices. Invasion of non-phagocytic host cells appears to be a critical mechanism of microbial persistence in host tissues. Hidden within host cells, bacteria elude host defences and antibiotic
[...] Read more.
Complete eradication of bacterial infections is often a challenging task, especially in presence of prosthetic devices. Invasion of non-phagocytic host cells appears to be a critical mechanism of microbial persistence in host tissues. Hidden within host cells, bacteria elude host defences and antibiotic treatments that are intracellularly inactive. The intracellular invasiveness of bacteria is generally measured by conventional gentamicin protection assays. The efficiency of invasion, however, markedly differs across bacterial species and adjustments to the titre of the microbial inocula used in the assays are often needed to enumerate intracellular bacteria. Such changes affect the standardisation of the method and hamper a direct comparison of bacteria on a same scale. This study aims at investigating the precise relation between inoculum, in terms of multiplicity of infection (MOI), and internalised bacteria. The investigation included nine Staphylococcus aureus, seven Staphylococcus epidermidis, five Staphylococcus lugdunensis and two Enterococcus faecalis clinical strains, which are co-cultured with MG63 human osteoblasts. Unprecedented insights are offered on the relations existing between MOI, number of internalised bacteria and per cent of internalised bacteria. New parameters are identified that are of potential use for qualifying the efficiency of internalization and compare the behaviour of bacterial strains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Materials Science in Italy 2017)
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Open AccessArticle In Vitro Effectiveness of Microspheres Based on Silk Sericin and Chlorella vulgaris or Arthrospira platensis for Wound Healing Applications
Materials 2017, 10(9), 983; doi:10.3390/ma10090983
Received: 5 July 2017 / Revised: 10 August 2017 / Accepted: 21 August 2017 / Published: 23 August 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4905 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Some natural compounds have recently been widely employed in wound healing applications due to their biological properties. One such compound is sericin, which is produced by Bombix mori, while active polyphenols, polysaccharides and proteins are synthetized by Chlorella vulgaris and Arthrospira platensis
[...] Read more.
Some natural compounds have recently been widely employed in wound healing applications due to their biological properties. One such compound is sericin, which is produced by Bombix mori, while active polyphenols, polysaccharides and proteins are synthetized by Chlorella vulgaris and Arthrospira platensis microalgae. Our hypothesis was that sericin, as an optimal bioactive polymeric carrier for microencapsulation process, could also improve the regenerative effect of the microalgae. A solvent-free extraction method and spray drying technique were combined to obtain five formulations, based on algal extracts (C. vulgaris and A. platensis, Chl and Art, respectively) or silk sericin (Ser) or their mixtures (Chl-Ser and Art-Ser). The spray drying was a suitable method to produce microspheres with similar dimensions, characterized by collapsed morphology with a rough surface. Art and Art-Ser showed higher antioxidant properties than other formulations. All microspheres resulted in cytocompatibility on fibroblasts until 1.25 mg/mL and promoted cell migration and the complete wound closure; this positive effect was further highlighted after treatment with Art and Art-Ser. To our surprize the combination of sericin to Art did not improve the microalgae extract efficacy, at least in our experimental conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Materials Science in Italy 2017)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Update on Monoterpenes as Antimicrobial Agents: A Particular Focus on p-Cymene
Materials 2017, 10(8), 947; doi:10.3390/ma10080947
Received: 25 July 2017 / Revised: 8 August 2017 / Accepted: 11 August 2017 / Published: 15 August 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (426 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
p-Cymene [1-methyl-4-(1-methylethyl)-benzene] is a monoterpene found in over 100 plant species used for medicine and food purposes. It shows a range of biological activity including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, anxiolytic, anticancer and antimicrobial effects. This last property has been widely investigated due to the
[...] Read more.
p-Cymene [1-methyl-4-(1-methylethyl)-benzene] is a monoterpene found in over 100 plant species used for medicine and food purposes. It shows a range of biological activity including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, anxiolytic, anticancer and antimicrobial effects. This last property has been widely investigated due to the urgent need for new substances with antimicrobial properties, to be used to treat communicable diseases whose diffusion in developed countries has been facilitated by globalization and the evolution of antimicrobial resistance. This review summarizes available scientific data, as reported by the most recent studies describing the antimicrobial activity of p-cymene either alone, or as the main component of plant extracts, as well as addressing the mechanisms of action of cymenes as antimicrobial agents. While p-cymene is one of the major constituents of extracts and essential oils used in traditional medicines as antimicrobial agents, but considering the limited data on its in vivo efficacy and safety, further studies are required to reach a definitive recommendation on the use and beneficial effects of p-cymene in human healthcare and in biomedical applications as a promising candidate to functionalize biomaterials and nanomaterials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Materials Science in Italy 2017)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: New environmentally sustainable and ecosafe materials for water nano-treatment 

Authors: Corsi Ilaria1*, Andrea Fiorati2, Giacomo Grassi1, Irene Bartolozzi 3,4, Tiberio Daddi3,4, Carlo Punta2*

1Department of Physical, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Siena, via Mattioli, 4, Siena, Italy and INSTM research unit

2Department of Chemistry, Materials, and Chemical Engineering “G. Natta” Politecnico di Milano, Via Mancinelli 7-20131, Milano, Italy and INSTM research unit

3 Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Institute of Management, Piazza Martiri della Libertà 33, 56127 Pisa, Italy

4 Ergo S.r.l., c/o Technology Centre, Via Giuntini 25/29 – int. 29, 56023 Navacchio (PI), Italy

Nanoremediation, that is the use of nanoparticles and nanomaterials for environmental remediation, is widely explored and proposed for preservation of natural resources, which suffer the increase in human population, pollution, urbanization. We herein report a critical analysis of nanotechnologies for water remediation by assessing their sustainability in terms of efficient removal of pollutants, appropriate methods for monitoring their effectiveness, and protocols for the evaluation of any potential environmental risks. Our purpose is to furnish fruitful guidelines for a sustainable water management, able to promote nanoremediation also at European level. In this context, we describe new nano-structured materials obtained from renewable resources as alternative efficient and eco-safe solutions for water nano-treatment. We also provide an environmental impact assessment of these materials based on life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology.

* both authors equally contribute to the work

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