The emerging role of decellularized plant-based scaffolds as a new biomaterial

Ashlee F. Harris, Jerome Lacombe, Frederic Zenhausern

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The decellularization of plant-based biomaterials to generate tissue-engineered substitutes or in vitro cellular models has significantly increased in recent years. These vegetal tissues can be sourced from plant leaves and stems or fruits and vegetables, making them a low-cost, accessible, and sustainable resource from which to generate three-dimensional scaffolds. Each construct is distinct, representing a wide range of architectural and mechanical properties as well as innate vasculature networks. Based on the rapid rise in interest, this review aims to detail the current state of the art and presents the future challenges and perspectives of these unique biomaterials. First, we consider the different existing decellularization techniques, including chemical, detergent-free, enzymatic, and supercritical fluid approaches that are used to generate such scaffolds and examine how these protocols can be selected based on plant cellularity. We next examine strategies for cell seeding onto the plant-derived constructs and the importance of the different functionalization methods used to assist in cell adhesion and promote cell viability. Finally, we discuss how their structural features, such as inherent vasculature, porosity, morphology, and mechanical properties (i.e., stiffness, elasticity, etc.) position plant-based scaffolds as a unique biomaterial and drive their use for specific downstream applications. The main challenges in the field are presented throughout the discussion, and future directions are proposed to help improve the development and use of vegetal constructs in biomedical research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12347
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • Biomaterial
  • Cellulose
  • Decellularization
  • Plant-based scaffolds
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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