Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Biomacromolecules. 2003 Nov-Dec;4(6):1661-8.

Small-angle X-ray scattering and rheological characterization of alginate gels. 3. Alginic acid gels.

Author information

  • 1NOBIPOL, Department of Biotechnology, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway.


Alginic acid gels were studied by small-angle X-ray scattering and rheology to elucidate the influence of alginate chemical composition and molecular weight on the gel elasticity and molecular structure. The alginic acid gels were prepared by homogeneous pH reduction throughout the sample. Three alginates with different chemical composition and sequence, and two to three different molecular weights of each sample were examined. Three alginate samples with fractions of guluronic acid residues of 0.39 (LoG), 0.50 (InG), and 0.68 (HiG), covering the range of commercially available alginates, were employed. The excess scattering intensity I of the alginic acid gels was about 1 order of magnitude larger and exhibited a stronger curvature toward low q compared to ionically cross-linked alginate. The I(q) were decomposed into two components by assuming that the alginic acid gel is composed of aggregated multiple junctions and single chains. Time-resolved experiments showed a large increase in the average size of aggregates and their weight fraction within the first 2 h after onset of gelling, which also coincides with the most pronounced rheological changes. At equilibrium, little or no effect of molecular weight was observed, whereas at comparable molecular weights, an increased scattering intensity with increasing content of guluronic acid residues was recorded, probably because of a larger apparent molecular mass of domains. The results suggest a quasi-ordered junction zone is formed in the initial stage, followed by subsequent assembling of such zones, forming domains in the order of 50 A. The average length of the initial junction zones, being governed by the relative fraction of stabilizing G-blocks and destabilizing alternating (MG) blocks, determines the density of the final random aggregates. Hence, high-G alginates give alginic acid gels of a higher aggregate density compared to domains composed of loosely packed shorter junction zones in InG or LoG system.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for American Chemical Society
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk