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Synthesis of Alginate Nanoparticles Using Hydrolyzed and Enzyme-Digested Alginate Using the Ionic Gelation and Water-in-Oil Emulsion Method


Alginate nanoparticles (AlgNPs) are attracting increasing interest for a range of applications because of their good biocompatibility and their ability to be functionalized. Alginate is an easily accessible biopolymer which is readily gelled by the addition of cations such as calcium, facilitating a cost-effective and efficient production of nanoparticles. In this study, AlgNPs based on acid hydrolyzed and enzyme-digested alginate were synthesized by using ionic gelation and water-in-oil emulsification, with the goal to optimize key parameters to produce small uniform (<200 nm) AlgNPs. By the ionic gelation method, such AlgNPs were obtained when sample concentrations were 0.095 mg/mL for alginate and CaCl2 in the range of 0.03-0.10 mg/mL. Alginate and CaCl2 concentrations > 0.10 mg/mL resulted in sizes > 200 nm with relatively high dispersity. Sonication in lieu of magnetic stirring proved to further reduce size and increase homogeneity of the nanoparticles. In the water-in-oil emulsification method, nanoparticle growth was confined to inverse micelles in an oil phase, resulting in lower dispersity. Both the ionic gelation and water-in-oil emulsification methods were suitable for producing small uniform AlgNPs that can be further functionalized as required for various applications.

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