Design of new nanocellulose-based gas-carrier systems

Project code: PN-III-P4-PCE-2021-0435

PCE 77/2.06.2022

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Severe oxygen deprivation can cause significant problems in chronic wounds, during organ preservation and implantation, or in cases of trauma, hemorrhagic shock, or viral pneumonia. Oxygen prevents wound infection, increases cell viability after implantation and could be an effective treatment in viral pneumonia. Currently, there is no viable solution to deliver oxygen to the grafts during the healing period and to administrate a large volume of oxygen to patients who suffered profound oxygen deprivation. The scope of the CELGAS project is to develop innovative oxygen-carrying systems capable of supplying oxygen in a controlled manner to injured tissue/implants or intravenously. The innovative oxygen-carrying systems will ensure controlled release of oxygen for long periods of time, will have a high stability, biodegradability, will not be cytotoxic and will have a nanometric size, essential for intravenous administration to avoid vascular obstruction. In CELGAS, the problem will be addressed using nanocellulose and nanocellulose/biopolymer to encapsulate oxygen-generating species or to obtain oxygen-containing nanobubbles.


Main objective: development of innovative oxygen carrier systems capable of delivering oxygen in a controlled manner to the injured tissue/implant or intravenously. The innovative oxygen carrier systems will ensure a controlled release of oxygen over longer periods of time, will have high stability, biodegradability, lack of toxicity and, in the case of intravenous administration, a nanometric size.

Specific objectives:

a. Designing new oxygen carrier systems by incorporating active elements in nanocellulose or nanocellulose/biopolymer carriers;

b. Designing gas containing carrier systems;

c. Optimizing the active elements incorporating processes and selection of the viable alternatives for scaling-up to a higher technological level.


Phase I:

During this phase, oxygen-carrying systems capable of providing oxygen in the case of chronic wounds, during conservation and in the case of organ implantation or other trauma cases were designed and realized. The developed solution is based on the encapsulation of oxygen-generating species in a porous substrate of nanocellulose or functionalized nanocellulose. For this purpose, the nanocellulose was modified by TEMPO oxidation, by grafting of alkylsilane with long aliphatic chain, by grafting of poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate and poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) oligomers. The functionalization of nanocellulose was aimed at modifying the surface properties and imprinting the amphiphilic character for more efficient incorporation of oxygen-generating species. The efficiency of the functionalization was demonstrated by the morpho-structural, thermal and surface properties characterization. The selected oxygen-generating species were incorporated into the porous nanocellulose and functionalized nanocellulose substrates and the methodology for obtaining oxygen-carrying systems was elaborated. The oxygen-carrying systems were characterized and their properties were correlated with the treatment applied to the nanocellulose substrate. The research work of this phase was disseminated by publishing two articles, one in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules (FI 8,025, Q1) and the other in Polymers (FI 4,967, Q1) and by communicating two papers, a poster and a award-winning oral communication. All the activities expected for this stage have been carried out.


Published articles:

1. D. M. Panaitescu, S. Stoian, A. N. Frone, G. M. Vlăsceanu, D. D. Baciu, A. R. Gabor, C. A. Nicolae, V. Radiţoiu, E. Alexandrescu, A. Căşărică, C.

Damian, P. Stanescu, Nanofibrous scaffolds based on bacterial cellulose crosslinked with oxidized sucrose, International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 221, 2022, 381-397,

2. I. Chiulan, D. M. Panaitescu, A. Serafim, E. R. Radu, G. Ioniţă, V. Rădiţoiu, A. R. Gabor, C. A. Nicolae, M. Ghiurea, D. D. Baciu, Sponges from plasma treated cellulose nanofibers grafted with poly(ethylene glycol)methyl ether methacrylate. Polymers 14, 2022, 4720,


1. C-D. Uşurelu, D. M. Panaitescu, S. Stoian, A. N. Frone, A. R. Gabor, C. A. Nicolae, E. Alexandrescu, Bacterial cellulose sponges obtained using a green

crosslinker, Conferința Națională de Chimie, ediția a XXXVI-a, Calimaneşti, 4-7 Octombrie 2022 (poster)

2. C-D. Uşurelu, D. M. Panaitescu, A. N. Frone, A. R. Gabor, C. A. Nicolae, M. F. Raduly, M. Teodorescu, Obtaining poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) oligomers via the controlled thermal degradation of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) in the presence of metal compounds, XVIII-th International Symposium PRIOCHEM “Priorities of Chemistry for a Sustainable Development” October 26-28, 2022 (award-winning oral communication)

Project Team
  • Dr. eng. Denis Mihaela Panaitescu
  • Prof. dr. eng. Teodorescu Mircea
  • Prof. dr. eng. Elena Gabriela Ionita
  • Dr. eng. Adriana Nicoleta Frone
  • Dr. eng. Valentin Rădițoiu
  • Dr. eng. Zina Vuluga
  • Dr. biochim. Iuliana Caras
  • Dr. eng. Raluca Ianchis
  • Dr. eng. Ioana Catalina Gîfu
  • Drd. eng. George-Mihail Teodorescu
  • Drd. eng. Andreea Afilipoaei
  • Drd. eng. Catalina-Diana Usurelu
  • Eng. Madalina Oprică

Dr. eng. Denis Mihaela Panaitescu

National Institute for Research & Development in Chemistry and Petrochemistry