Bacterial Cellulose&mdash;A Remarkable Polymer as a Source for Biomaterials Tailoring
Nowadays, the development of new eco-friendly and biocompatible materials using &lsquo;green&rsquo; technologies represents a significant challenge for the biomedical and pharmaceutical fields to reduce the destructive actions of scientific research on the human body and the environment. Thus, bacterial cellulose (BC) has a central place among these novel tailored biomaterials. BC is a non-pathogenic bacteria-produced polysaccharide with a 3D nanofibrous structure, chemically identical to plant cellulose, but exhibiting greater purity and crystallinity. Bacterial cellulose possesses excellent physicochemical and mechanical properties, adequate capacity to absorb a large quantity of water, non-toxicity, chemical inertness, biocompatibility, biodegradability, proper capacity to form films and to stabilize emulsions, high porosity, and a large surface area. Due to its suitable characteristics, this ecological material can combine with multiple polymers and diverse bioactive agents to develop new materials and composites. Bacterial cellulose alone, and with its mixtures, exhibits numerous applications, including in the food and electronic industries and in the biotechnological and biomedical areas (such as in wound dressing, tissue engineering, dental implants, drug delivery systems, and cell culture). This review presents an overview of the main properties and uses of bacterial cellulose and the latest promising future applications, such as in biological diagnosis, biosensors, personalized regenerative medicine, and nerve and ocular tissue engineering.