• alginate hydrogels;
  • cells;
  • double emulsions;
  • encapsulation;
  • microfluidics


Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

A microfluidic technique is described to encapsulate living cells in alginate hydrogel microparticles generated from monodisperse double-emulsion templates. A microcapillary device is used to fabricate double emulsion templates composed of an alginate drop surrounded by a mineral oil shell. Hydrogel formation begins when the alginate drop separates from the mineral oil shell and comes into contact with Ca2+ ions in the continuous phase. Alginate hydrogel microparticles with diameters ranging from 60 to 230 µm are obtained. 65% of the cells encapsulated in the alginate microparticles were viable after one week. The technique provides a useful means to encapsulate the living cells in monodisperse hydrogel microparticles.