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Comparison of different technologies for alginate beads production

Ulf Prüsse, Luca Bilancetti, Marek Bučko, Branko Bugarski, Jozef Bukowski, Peter Gemeiner, Dorota Lewińska, Verica Manojlovic, Benjamin Massart, Claudio Nastruzzi, Viktor Nedovic, Denis Poncelet, Swen Siebenhaar, Lucien Tobler, Azzurra Tosi, and Alica Vikarto

Institute of Agricultural Technology and Biosystems Engineering, Johan Heinrich von Thunen-Insitute (vTI), Bundesallee 50, 38116 Braunschweig, Germany



Received: 17 September 2007  Revised: 19 November 2007  Accepted: 21 November 2007

Abstract: 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.

Keywords: droplet generation - coaxial air-flow - electrostatic - vibration - JetCutter - alginate beads

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-008-0035-x


Chemical Papers 62 (4) 364–374 (2008)

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