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Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 0,246
Online ISSN 1827-160X
POLY-tech Research Center Scrl and POLYbiós Research Center, Trieste, Italy
Among the most widely used natural polymers the phycocolloids alginate, agarose and carrageenan, are the best known gelling polysaccharides. Besides the large diffusion they have in numberless industrial applications, agarose, -carrageenan and, in particular, alginate reached a pre-eminent role in biotechnology becoming indispensable partners for encapsulation of cells, biocatalysts and drugs. Other polysaccharides such as pectins, obtained from the primary cell wall of higher plants and chitosan, derived from de-acetylation of chitin, have also been proposed for some applications. Moreover, microbial polysaccharides represent an emerging group, with the gellan gum and the bacterial alginates having the greatest potential as encapsulating agents. The natural polysaccharides used as carrier materials in the encapsulation technology have the great advantage to be non-toxic, biocompatible and biodegradable. The chemical features and physical properties, such as monomeric composition, degree of substitution, kinetic of gel formation, gel strength and shrinkage of matrices produced with such polysaccharides, can largely influence both cell viability and rate of release of drugs and other molecules entrapped in the gel matrix.