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Rivista di Biologia Molecolare e Biotecnologie

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Minerva Biotecnologica 2000 December;12(4):213-22

lingua: Inglese

Natural gell­ing poly­sac­cha­rides: indis­pens­able part­ners in bio­en­cap­su­la­tion tech­nol­o­gy

Murano E.

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.

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