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Biomacromolecules. 2013 May 13;14(5):1251-6. doi: 10.1021/bm400022h. Epub 2013 Apr 5.

Light-triggered cross-linking of alginates with caged Ca2+.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institut für Polymerforschung, Ackermannweg 10, 55128 Mainz, Germany.


A strategy to light-trigger ionic cross-linking of alginates by incorporating a photosensitive Ca2+ cage (nitr-T) is presented. Upon irradiation, free Ca2+ was released, and this caused gelation of the alginate solution. Addition of Ca2+ "on-demand" allowed us to obtain homogeneous alginate (ALG) gels using concentrated initial ALG solutions (10%), not possible with other ionic gelation approaches. The cross-linking degree and derived mechanical properties of the hydrogel were modulated by the exposure dose. The light-mediated cross-linked alginate hydrogel displayed a significant improvement in the mechanical properties and homogeneity when compared to mixtures of alginate and soluble Ca2+ at comparable concentrations.

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