Preparation and characterization of supermacroporous polyacrylamide cryogel beads for biotechnological application


Correspondence to: S.-J. Yao (


Polymer beads, particularly supermacroporous beads, play important roles in biotechnological applications, such as their application as adsorbents in bioseparation processes and used as carriers in immobilization of cells or/and enzymes. In this study, supermacroporous polyacrylamide (pAAm) based cryogel beads were prepared via an inverse suspension polymerization method at low temperature (<0°C). Standard porous beads were also prepared at room temperature for comparison. The results showed that the diameter of the beads were in the range of 50–400 μm and some irregular large pores of the beads were of 3–90 μm in diameter, which had good biocompatibility, hydrophilicity, high porosity and large connected pores. To modify the properties of these cryogel beads, cryogel beads embedded with nanoparticles of TiO2 were also prepared. The physical properties of the composite cryogel beads with supermacroporous were characterized and the results showed an improvement in mechanical strength and stability, which indicated that these supermacroporous cryogel beads may be useful in biotechnological applications as the networks in the beads can facilitate the mass transfer of nutrients and oxygen. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 130: 3082–3089, 2013