Alginate Hacking

Algal Alginate in Biotechnology: Biosynthesis and Applications

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Abstract

Algae are recognized as the main producer of commercial alginate. Alginate produced using algae is located in the walls and intracellular regions of their cells. Its properties vary depending on the species, growing and harvesting seasons, and extraction methods. Alginate has attracted the attention of several industries, thanks to its unique properties such as its biodegradability, biocompatibility, renewability and lack of toxicity features. For example, it is considered a good encapsulation agent due to the transparent nature of the alginate matrices. Also, this biopolymer is recognized as a functional food in the food industry. It can be tolerated easily in human body and has the ability to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Besides, it is used as an abrasive agent, antioxidant, and thickening and stabilizing agents in cosmetic and pharmaceutic industries. Generally, it is used in emulsion systems and wound dressing patches. Furthermore, this polysaccharide has the potential to be used in green nanotechnologies as a drug delivery vehicle via cell microencapsulation. Moreover, it is suitable to adopt as a coagulant due to its wide range of flocculation dose and high shear stability. In this chapter, the mentioned usage areas of algal alginate are explained in more detail.

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