Alginate as immobilization material: I. Correlation between chemical and physical properties of alginate gel beads



Calcium alginate gel beads were prepared from a range of well characterized alginates. The physical properties of beads depended strongly on the composition, sequential structure, and molecular size of the polymers. Beads with the highest mechanical strength, lowest shrinkage, best stability towards monovalent cations, and highest porosity were made from alginate with a content of L-guluronic acid higher than 70% and an average length of the G-blocks higher than 15. For these “high G” alginates the critical overlap intrinsic viscosities have been determined, and for molecular weight higher than 2.4 × 105, the gel strength was independent of the molecular weight.