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Membrane emulsification for the production of uniform poly-N-isopropylacrylamide-coated alginate particles using internal gelation

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journal contribution
posted on 03.06.2016, 13:32 by Petra Hanga, Richard Holdich
Alginate particles, crosslinked by calcium ions, have a number of potential biopharmaceutical industry applications due to the biocompatibility of the materials used and formed. One such use is as microcarriers for cell attachment, growth and then detachment without the use of proteolytic enzymes. A straightforward and reproducible method for producing uniform calcium alginate particles with controllable median diameters which employs membrane emulsification and internal gelation (solid particles contained in the dispersed phase) is demonstrated, as well as functionalisation of the resulting beads with amine terminated poly N-isopropylacrylamide (pNIPAM) to form temperature responsive particles, by taking advantage of the electrostatic interaction between the carboxyl groups of the alginate and amino groups of the modified pNIPAM. Cell attachment, growth and detachment capabilities of these core-shell structures were assessed and successfully demonstrated by using phase contrast microscopy and fluorescent staining with calcein-AM and ethidium homodimer-1.The formulation used for the alginate particles avoided non-GRAS chemicals by only using food grade and pharmaceutical grade reagents. The median particle size was controllable within the range between 55. μm and 690. μm and the size distributions produced were very narrow: 'span' values as low as 0.2. When using a membrane pore size of 20. μm no membrane blockage by the suspended calcium carbonate necessary for internal gelation of the alginate particles was observed. Membrane pore openings with diameters of 5 and 10. μm were also tested, but blocked with the 2.3. μm median diameter calcium carbonate solids. © 2014 The Institution of Chemical Engineers.



  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Chemical Engineering

Published in

Chemical Engineering Research and Design






1664 - 1673


HANGA, M.P. and HOLDICH, R.G., 2014. Membrane emulsification for the production of uniform poly-N-isopropylacrylamide-coated alginate particles using internal gelation. Chemical Engineering Research and Design, 92(9), pp. 1664-1673.


© 2014 The Institution of Chemical Engineers. Published by Elsevier


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Chemical Engineering Research and Design and the definitive published version is available at






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