Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Science (Interdepartmental Program)

Document Type



The aim of this work was to synthesize non-toxic, biodegradable polyesters of aconitic acid, cinnamic acid and glycerol from by-products of the sugarcane industry as scaffolds for skin and bone tissue engineering. Utilizing the by-products, molasses and sugarcane bagasse, not only add value to the cane industry, but also paves path for synthesizing novel bio-based materials from the isolated specialty chemicals. Molasses contain an economically recoverable quantity of aconitic acid and its extraction was studied in detail as a part of this work. The yields of recovered aconitic acid varied from 25–69% depending on the extraction conditions. Under all the conditions, the purity values of extracted aconitic acid were higher than 99%. In the next step of the research, polyesters of aconitic acid, glycerol and cinnamic acid were synthesized. Different compositions of polyesters were characterized for their mechanical properties, porosity, mass loss in stromal medium, ability to support growth and proliferation of human adipose derived mesenchymal stem cells (hASC). Several biocompatibility tests such as mass loss over a period of time, alamar blue to analyze growth and viability of hASC on polyester scaffolds, picogreen for total DNA content synthesized indicated that these polyesters hold promising potential as tissue engineering scaffolds. The final step of this dissertation involved evaluating these polyesters as skin and bone tissue engineering scaffolds. For skin tissue engineering, especially wound repair, thin film polyester scaffolds laden with hASC were grown in stromal medium supplemented with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). Based on the amount of collagen synthesized and DNA quantification data it was concluded that the polyesters can be used as scaffolds for wound repair by the addition of bFGF. The last step dealt with utilizing these as bone scaffolds where hASC were induced to undergo osteogenesis, and analyzed for mineralization and osteogenic target gene expression over a 21 days period. Based on calcium deposition results, and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and osteocalcin (OCN) expression data, it was concluded that these scaffolds hold great potential for bone tissue engineering.



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Committee Chair

Aita, Giovanna