, Volume 62, Issue 4, pp 364-374
Date: 01 Jul 2008

Comparison of different technologies for alginate beads production

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This paper describes the results of the round robin experiment “Bead production technologies” carried out during the COST 840 action “Bioencapsulation Innovation and Technologies” within the 5th Framework Program of the European Community. In this round robin experiment, calcium alginate hydrogel beads with the diameter of (800 ± 100) μm were produced by the most common bead production technologies using 0.5–4 mass % sodium alginate solutions as starting material. Dynamic viscosity of the alginate solutions ranged from less than 50 mPa s up to more than 10000 mPa s. With the coaxial air-flow and electrostatic enhanced dropping technologies as well as with the JetCutter technology in the soft-landing mode, beads were produced from all alginate solutions, whereas the vibration technology was not capable to process the high-viscosity 3 % and 4 % alginate solutions. Spherical beads were generated by the electrostatic and the JetCutter technologies. Slightly deformed beads were obtained from high-viscosity alginate solutions using the coaxial airflow and from the 0.5 % and 2 % alginate solutions using the vibration technology. The rate of bead production using the JetCutter was about 10 times higher than with the vibration technology and more than 10000 times higher than with the coaxial air-flow and electrostatic technology.

In memory of our colleague Stefan Rosinski