Recent advances in nanoengineering cellulose for cargo delivery Journal Articles uri icon

  • Overview
  • Research
  • Identity
  • Additional Document Info
  • View All


  • The recent decade has witnessed a growing demand to substitute synthetic materials with naturally-derived platforms for minimizing their undesirable footprints in biomedicine, environment, and ecosystems. Among the natural materials, cellulose, the most abundant biopolymer in the world with key properties, such as biocompatibility, biorenewability, and sustainability has drawn significant attention. The hierarchical structure of cellulose fibers, one of the main constituents of plant cell walls, has been nanoengineered and broken down to nanoscale building blocks, providing an infrastructure for nanomedicine. Microorganisms, such as certain types of bacteria, are another source of nanocelluloses known as bacterial nanocellulose (BNC), which benefit from high purity and crystallinity. Chemical and mechanical treatments of cellulose fibrils made up of alternating crystalline and amorphous regions have yielded cellulose nanocrystals (CNC), hairy CNC (HCNC), and cellulose nanofibrils (CNF) with dimensions spanning from a few nanometers up to several microns. Cellulose nanocrystals and nanofibrils may readily bind drugs, proteins, and nanoparticles through physical interactions or be chemically modified to covalently accommodate cargos. Engineering surface properties, such as chemical functionality, charge, area, crystallinity, and hydrophilicity, plays a pivotal role in controlling the cargo loading/releasing capacity and rate, stability, toxicity, immunogenicity, and biodegradation of nanocellulose-based delivery platforms. This review provides insights into the recent advances in nanoengineering cellulose crystals and fibrils to develop vehicles, encompassing colloidal nanoparticles, hydrogels, aerogels, films, coatings, capsules, and membranes, for the delivery of a broad range of bioactive cargos, such as chemotherapeutic drugs, anti-inflammatory agents, antibacterial compounds, and probiotics. SYNOPSIS: Engineering certain types of microorganisms as well as the hierarchical structure of cellulose fibers, one of the main building blocks of plant cell walls, has yielded unique families of cellulose-based nanomaterials, which have leveraged the effective delivery of bioactive molecules.


  • Sheikhi, Amir
  • Hayashi, Joel
  • Eichenbaum, James
  • Gutin, Mark
  • Kuntjoro, Nicole
  • Khorsandi, Danial
  • Khademhosseini, Ali

publication date

  • January 2019