• chitosan;
  • microspheres;
  • magnetite;
  • tyrosinase


Superparamagnetic chitosan microspheres were prepared by a water-in-oil suspension-crosslinking technique. To this end, magnetite particles were dispersed in a chitosan solution in acetic acid. The dispersion was added to toluene containing Span 20 as a surfactant with stirring. Chitosan solution droplets were hardened with glutaraldehyde. The magnetic chitosan microspheres obtained were characterized with scanning electron microscopy, differential thermal analysis, and vibrational magnetometry. The microspheres had a wide size distribution, ranging from 43 ± 25 to 255 ± 55 μm, that depended on the reaction conditions. The mean particle size decreased with an increase in the concentration of Span 20 or the amount of glutaraldehyde and with the addition of NaCl. However, a major size reduction was achieved by an increase in the stirring rate. Tyrosinase was immobilized on the microspheres. The immobilized enzyme retained 70% of its activity, as determined by the capacity to degrade phenolic compounds. The immobilized tyrosinase resulted in greater stability than the free enzyme. In addition, the enzyme maintained 65% of its phenol oxidation activity after 10 cycles of reuse. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 98: 651–657, 2005