Table of Contents
Journal of Quality and Reliability Engineering
Volume 2016, Article ID 9184039, 7 pages
Research Article

Physicochemical Characterization of Alginate Beads Containing Sugars and Biopolymers

1Industry Department and Organic Chemistry Department, Faculty of Exact and Natural Sciences, University of Buenos Aires (FCEN-UBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina
2National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina

Received 29 June 2016; Accepted 14 August 2016

Academic Editor: Yi-Hung Chen

Copyright © 2016 Tatiana Aguirre Calvo and Patricio Santagapita. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Alginate hydrogels are suitable for the encapsulation of a great variety of biomolecules. Several alternatives to the conventional alginate formulation are being studied for a broad range of biotechnological applications; among them the addition of sugars and biopolymers arises as a good and economic strategy. Sugars (trehalose and β-cyclodextrin), a cationic biopolymer (chitosan), an anionic biopolymer (pectin), and neutral gums (Arabic, guar, espina corona, and vinal gums) provided different characteristics to the beads. Here we discuss the influence of beads composition on several physicochemical properties, such as size and shape, analyzed through digital image analysis besides both water content and activity. The results showed that the addition of a second biopolymer, β-CD, or trehalose provoked more compact beads, but the fact that they were compact not necessarily implies a concomitant increase in their circularity. Espina corona beads showed the highest circularity value, being useful for applications which require a controlled and high circularity, assuring quality control. Beads with trehalose showed lower water content than the rest of the system, followed by those containing galactomannans (espina corona, vinal, and guar gums), revealing polymer structure effects. A complete characterization of the beads was performed by FT-IR, assigning the characteristics bands to each individual component.