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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 762705, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/762705
Review Article

Biological Effects of Spirulina (Arthrospira) Biopolymers and Biomass in the Development of Nanostructured Scaffolds

1Laboratory of Microbiology and Biochemical, College of Chemistry and Food Engineering, Federal University of Rio Grande, P.O. Box 474, Avenida Itália, Km 8, 96203-900 Rio Grande, RS, Brazil
2Laboratory of Biochemical Engineering, College of Chemistry and Food Engineering, Federal University of Rio Grande, P.O. Box 474, 96203-900 Rio Grande, RS, Brazil

Received 2 April 2014; Revised 14 June 2014; Accepted 10 July 2014; Published 23 July 2014

Academic Editor: Costantino Del Gaudio

Copyright © 2014 Michele Greque de Morais et al. 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.

Abstract

Spirulina is produced from pure cultures of the photosynthetic prokaryotic cyanobacteria Arthrospira. For many years research centers throughout the world have studied its application in various scientific fields, especially in foods and medicine. The biomass produced from Spirulina cultivation contains a variety of biocompounds, including biopeptides, biopolymers, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, minerals, oligoelements, and sterols. Some of these compounds are bioactive and have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, and antifungal properties. These compounds can be used in tissue engineering, the interdisciplinary field that combines techniques from cell science, engineering, and materials science and which has grown in importance over the past few decades. Spirulina biomass can be used to produce polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), biopolymers that can substitute synthetic polymers in the construction of engineered extracellular matrices (scaffolds) for use in tissue cultures or bioactive molecule construction. This review describes the development of nanostructured scaffolds based on biopolymers extracted from microalgae and biomass from Spirulina production. These scaffolds have the potential to encourage cell growth while reducing the risk of organ or tissue rejection.