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Membranes 2018, 8(3), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes8030051

Factors Affecting Mass Transport Properties of Poly(ε-caprolactone) Membranes for Tissue Engineering Bioreactors

1
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Cantabria, Avda. Los Castros s/n, 39005 Santander, Spain
2
Servicio de Microbiología, Hospital Universitario Marqués de Valdecilla e Instituto IDIVAL, 39005 Santander, Spain
3
Red Española de Investigación en Patología Infecciosa (REIPI), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, 28029 Madrid, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 June 2018 / Revised: 20 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 1 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Membrane Preparation and Characterization)
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Abstract

High porosity and mass transport properties of microfiltration polymeric membranes benefit nutrients supply to cells when used as scaffolds in interstitial perfusion bioreactors for tissue engineering. High nutrients transport is assumed when pore size and porosity of the membrane are in the micrometric range. The present work demonstrates that the study of membrane fouling by proteins present in the culture medium, though not done usually, should be included in the routine testing of new polymer membranes for this intended application. Two poly(ε-caprolactone) microfiltration membranes presenting similar average pore size (approximately 0.7 µm) and porosity (>80%) but different external surface porosity and pore size have been selected as case studies. The present work demonstrates that a membrane with lower surface pore abundance and smaller external pore size (approximately 0.67 µm), combined with adequate hydrodynamics and tangential flow filtration mode is usually more convenient to guarantee high flux of nutrients. On the contrary, having large external pore size (approximately 1.70 µm) and surface porosity would incur important internal protein fouling that could not be prevented with the operation mode and hydrodynamics of the perfusion system. Additionally, the use of glycerol in the drying protocols of the membranes might cause plasticization and a consequent reduction of mass transport properties due to membrane compaction by the pressure exerted to force perfusion. Therefore, preferentially, drying protocols that omit the use of plasticizing agents are recommended. View Full-Text
Keywords: membrane fouling; membrane plasticization; nutrients transport properties; perfusion bioreactors; tissue engineering membrane fouling; membrane plasticization; nutrients transport properties; perfusion bioreactors; tissue engineering
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Diban, N.; Gómez-Ruiz, B.; Lázaro-Díez, M.; Ramos-Vivas, J.; Ortiz, I.; Urtiaga, A. Factors Affecting Mass Transport Properties of Poly(ε-caprolactone) Membranes for Tissue Engineering Bioreactors. Membranes 2018, 8, 51.

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