Plant cell-inspiredmicrocontainers: Fabrication, Characterization and Applications

Abstract: Biomimetic materials have been inspiring mankind since a longtime for applications in a variety of fields. In particular, the production of lipidbasedvesicles have aided in our understanding of a variety of functions in animalcells, and also served as e.g. drug delivery systems and bioreactors. On thecontrary, the preparation of synthetic plant cells is limited, which is mainly due tothe challenges of building the complex plant primary cell wall fencing the lipidplasma membrane in real plant cells.The present thesis focuses on the bottom-up fabrication ofbiomimetic microcontainers that can serve as simple model systems for plant cells.In the first part, the interactions of plant cell wall polysaccharides, cellulosenanofibers (CNFs), pectin and xyloglucan, are examined. The knowledge is used inthe fabrication of microcapsules and the permeability properties were assessed.The results show that the polysaccharides must be assembled in a specific order inthe capsule wall to incorporate all the three polysaccharides. Additionally, thestructural stability and permeability highly depend on the capsule wallcomposition. The permeability also depends on the composition of thesurrounding media.The second part deals with the fabrication of more advancedbiomimetic microcapsules, with a lipid layer beneath the polysaccharide capsulewall. These capsules are semi-permeable and the phase behavior of the lipids isexploited to grow tubular structures (long filamentous structures) through thecapsule wall, as well as create a vesicle-crowded interior. Real plant cells usetubular structure (Plasmodesmata) for intercellular communications.In the third part, application-oriented aspects of the fabricatedmicrocapsules are discussed. The LbL-derived microcapsules (from the first part)were loaded with active glucose oxidase enzyme, thereby allowing their use as aglucose sensor. The capsule wall acts like a sieve, only allowing small molecules toeffectively pass through. Finally, cell culture experiments demonstrate theirbiocompatibility, paving way for tissue culture applications.