Natural cellulose fibers for surgical suture applications

María Paula Romero Guambo, Lilian Spencer, Nelson Santiago Vispo, Karla Vizuete, Alexis Debut, Daniel C. Whitehead, Ralph Santos-Oliveira, Frank Alexis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Suture biomaterials are critical in wound repair by providing support to the healing of different tissues including vascular surgery, hemostasis, and plastic surgery. Important properties of a suture material include physical properties, handling characteristics, and biological response for successful performance. However, bacteria can bind to sutures and become a source of infection. For this reason, there is a need for new biomaterials for suture with antifouling properties. Here we report two types of cellulose fibers from coconut (Cocos nucifera) and sisal (Agave sisalana), which were purified with a chemical method, characterized, and tested in vitro and in vivo. According to SEM images, the cellulose fiber from coconut has a porous surface, and sisal has a uniform structure without internal spaces. It was found that the cellulose fiber from sisal has mechanical properties closer to silk fiber biomaterial using Ultimate Tensile Strength. When evaluating the cellulose fibers biodegradability, the cellulose from coconut showed a rapid weight loss compared to sisal. The antifouling test was negative, which demonstrated that neither possesses intrinsic microbicidal activity. Yet, a weak biofilm was formed on sisal cellulose fibers suggesting it possesses antifouling properties compared to cellulose from coconut. In vivo experiments using healthy mice demonstrated that the scarring and mechanical connection was like silk for both cellulose fibers. Overall, our results showed the potential use of cellulose fibers from vegetal for surgical sutures due to excellent mechanical properties, rapid degradation, and no bacterial adhesion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3042
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Antifouling
  • Biodegradation
  • Cellulose
  • Fibers
  • Polymer
  • Suture


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