The crustacean processing industry produces large quantities of waste by-products (up to 70%). Such wastes could be used as raw materials for producing chitosan, a polysaccharide with a unique set of biochemical properties. However, the preparation methods and the long-term stability of chitosan-based products limit their application in biomedicine. In this study, different scale structures, such as aggregates, photo-crosslinked films, and 3D scaffolds based on mechanochemically-modified chitosan derivatives, were successfully formed. Dynamic light scattering revealed that aggregation of chitosan derivatives becomes more pronounced with an increase in the number of hydrophobic substituents. Although the results of the mechanical testing revealed that the plasticity of photo-crosslinked films was 5⁻8% higher than that for the initial chitosan films, their tensile strength remained unchanged. Different types of polymer scaffolds, such as flexible and porous ones, were developed by laser stereolithography. In vivo studies of the formed structures showed no dystrophic and necrobiotic changes, which proves their biocompatibility. Moreover, the wavelet analysis was used to show that the areas of chitosan film degradation were periodic. Comparing the results of the wavelet analysis and X-ray diffraction data, we have concluded that degradation occurs within less ordered amorphous regions in the polymer bulk.
Keywords: chitosan; laser stereolithography; long-term stability; mechanochemical synthesis; scaffold; tissue reaction.