Biopolymers and their applications have been widely studied in recent years. Replacing the oil based polymer materials with biopolymers in a sustainable manner might give not only a competitive advantage but, in addition, they possess unique properties which cannot be emulated by conventional polymers. This review covers the fabrication of porous materials from natural biopolymers (cellulose, chitosan, collagen), synthetic biopolymers (poly(lactic acid), poly(lactic-co
-glycolic acid)) and their composite materials. Properties of biopolymers strongly depend on the polymer structure and are of great importance when fabricating the polymer into intended applications. Biopolymers find a large spectrum of application in the medical field. Other fields such as packaging, technical, environmental, agricultural and food are also gaining importance. The introduction of porosity into a biomaterial broadens the scope of applications. There are many techniques used to fabricate porous polymers. Fabrication methods, including the basic and conventional techniques to the more recent ones, are reviewed. Advantages and limitations of each method are discussed in detail. Special emphasis is placed on the pore characteristics of biomaterials used for various applications. This review can aid in furthering our understanding of the fabrication methods and about controlling the porosity and microarchitecture of porous biopolymer materials.
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