Researchers have long been looking for a replacement for the traditional materials used in the manufacture of prostheses and implants. One of their main tasks is to create a safe, durable and inexpensive substance. Scientists from Singapore announced the receipt of a new type of soft particles, which is based on ordinary pollen.
The attention of researchers was attracted by sunflower pollen. After removal of the cement-like layer, the grains were incubated under alkaline conditions for 12 hours. As a result of swelling, pollen acquired the properties of a gel, which is characterized by high strength. According to the researchers, they can change the flexibility of the material obtained depending on the duration of incubation. The process resembles the creation of soap and is not particularly difficult for mass production.
“Our experimental and computational results give an idea of the basic biological mechanisms of pollen and demonstrate how a change in the structure of the pollen wall can lead to swelling of pollen particles. The results also show that we can go beyond the limits that even nature cannot overcome, ”said researchers at the Singapore Department of Materials Science.
According to scientists, the material printed on a 3D printer has unique properties and can be used as building blocks for polymer gels and sponges. The gel showed the absence of an immunological, allergic or toxic reaction in contact with human tissues. This will expand the scope to dressings, prostheses, or even electronics, which can be implanted into the body.