Engineering complex tissues for research and clinical applications relies on high-performance biomaterials that are amenable to biofabrication, maintain mechanical integrity, support specific cell behaviours, and, ultimately, biodegrade. In most cases, complex tissues will need to be fabricated from not one, but many biomaterials, which collectively fulfill these demanding requirements. Gellan gum is an anionic polysaccharide with potential to fill several key roles in engineered tissues, particularly after modification and blending. This review focuses on the present state of research into gellan gum, from its origins, purification and modification, through processing and biofabrication options, to its performance as a cell scaffold for both soft tissue and load bearing applications. Overall, we find gellan gum to be a highly versatile backbone material for tissue engineering research, upon which a broad array of form and functionality can be built.
Available for download on Tuesday, July 18, 2017