Tissue engineering is an interdisciplinary field that combines biological sciences and engineering to create biocompatible materials that are capable of regenerating damaged tissue. In recent years, many studies have addressed the production of biomaterials that simulate the environment of a natural extracellular matrix, in addition to offering efficiency in the recovery of damaged tissues. In this sense, the present study aims at the production of electrospinned polycaprolactone (PCL) nanofibers, added with cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) and loaded with essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (OEM) to act in tissue regeneration. PCL is a polymer that has great potential for application in the production of biomaterials, due to its non-toxic character, biodegradability and for being ecologically correct; however, its hydrophobic character limits cell adhesion. CNC functionalized with octadecyl isocyanate will be added in order to improve the hydrophilicity of nanofibers, and consequently the cell adhesion and biocompatibility of PCL. The OEM will be used due to its antimicrobial properties, which can further optimize tissue regeneration. In addition, the PCL/CNC/OEM electrospinned nanofibers will still undergo an atmospheric cold plasma (PFA) treatment to create surface charges to further improve cell adhesion to the material. The nanofibers will be evaluated by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), goniometry and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). Antimicrobial activity, adhesion and cell proliferation assays will also be conducted. In addition, the CNC will be characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray diffraction (DRX), FT-IR, XPS, TGA, dynamic light scattering (DLS) and zeta potential.
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