Microfluidic formation of core-shell alginate microparticles for protein encapsulation and controlled release

J Colloid Interface Sci. 2019 Mar 15:539:497-503. doi: 10.1016/j.jcis.2018.12.075. Epub 2018 Dec 19.


Alginate hydrogel particles are promising delivery systems for protein encapsulation and controlled release because of their excellent biocompatibility, biodegradability, and mild gelation process. In this study, a facile microfluidic approach is developed for making uniform core-shell hydrogel microparticles. To address the challenge of protein retention within the alginate gel matrix, poly(ethyleneimine) (PEI)- and chitosan-coated alginate microparticles were fabricated demonstrating improved protein retention as well as controlled release. Furthermore, a model protein ovalbumin was loaded along with delta inulin microparticulate adjuvant into the water-core of the alginate microparticles. Compared to those microparticles with only antigen loaded, the antigen + adjuvant loaded microparticles showed a delayed and sustained release of antigen. This microfluidic approach provides a convenient method for making well-controlled alginate microgel particles with uniform size and controlled properties, and demonstrates the ability to tune the release profiles of proteins by engineering microparticle structure and properties.

Keywords: Alginate microparticles; Chitosan; Controlled release; Microfluidics; Protein encapsulation.

MeSH terms

  • Alginates / chemical synthesis*
  • Alginates / chemistry
  • Delayed-Action Preparations / chemistry*
  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate / chemical synthesis
  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate / chemistry
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques*
  • Microspheres*
  • Ovalbumin / chemistry*
  • Particle Size
  • Surface Properties


  • Alginates
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate
  • Ovalbumin