3D bioprinting has changed the field of medicine. Recently, 3D printing companies are successful in printing living human tissues; but one company that stands out, is using 3D printed algae to sustain bioprinted human cells.
Researchers from the Technische Universitat Dresden in Germany together with the Center for Translational Bone, Joint and Soft Tissue Research were able to create 3D printed algae to sustain their bioprinted human cells. The 3D printed algae are filled with hydrogel scaffolds to provide Oxygen to the cells.
To create the algae, they mixed alginate-based hydrogel to a type of algae called Chlamydomonas. The mixture was then placed inside a 3D printer cartridge and then deposited layer by layer on a platform. The layer of gel and algae was then incubated under light for several days to allow the algae to grow.
So how do the algae sustain life to bioprinted human organs? Bioprinted organs can be printed side by side with the 3D printed algae. Once incubated under light, the algae become green and it releases oxygen to its surrounding environment as it grows. Researchers noted that the present study successfully demonstrated the combination of bioprinted human cells and the algae scaffold. However, they still need to find solution to the problem regarding getting oxygen to all cells. Unfortunately, the algae scaffold does not provide oxygen to every cell within the scaffold.
Aside from sustaining bioprinted organs, researchers also see many uses for these 3D printed algae which include creation of healthier food products and safer cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. Moreover, it can also be a source of biofuel.