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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2018, Article ID 5217095, 11 pages
Research Article

Embedding of Bacterial Cellulose Nanofibers within PHEMA Hydrogel Matrices: Tunable Stiffness Composites with Potential for Biomedical Applications

1Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry, Czech Academy of Sciences, Heyrovsky Sq. 2, 16206 Prague 6, Czech Republic
2Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering/Biopolymer Technology and Wallenberg Wood Science Center, Chalmers University of Technology, Kemivagen 10, 41296 Gothenburg, Sweden

Correspondence should be addressed to Radka Hobzova; zc.sac.cmi@avozboh

Received 20 July 2017; Revised 30 November 2017; Accepted 18 December 2017; Published 17 January 2018

Academic Editor: Faheem Ahmed

Copyright © 2018 Radka Hobzova 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.


Bacterial cellulose (BC) and poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (PHEMA) hydrogels are both considered as biocompatible materials with potential use in various biomedical applications including cartilage, cardiovascular stent, and soft tissue engineering. In this work, the “ever-wet” process based on in situ UV radical polymerization of HEMA monomer in BC nanofibrous structure impregnated with HEMA was used, and a series of BC-PHEMA composites was prepared. The composite structures were characterized by ATR FT-IR spectroscopy, WAXD, SEM, and TEM techniques. The strategy of using densified BC material of various cellulose fiber contents was applied to improve mechanical properties. The mechanical properties were tested under tensile, dynamic shear, and relaxation modes. The final composites contained 1 to 20 wt% of BC; the effect of the reinforcement degree on morphology, swelling capacity, and mechanical properties was investigated. The biocompatibility test of BC-PHEMA composites was performed using mouse mesenchymal stem cells.