A novel gel formation method, microstructure and mechanical properties of calcium polysaccharide gel films.

Pornsak Sriamornsak, Ross Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Hydrophilic gels, formed by the interaction of calcium ions with either sodium alginate or potassium pectinate, can be deposited as a wet coating on to the surface of drug loaded pellets. If the coated pellets are dried, they could be dispensed to a patient in a capsule for oral delivery of the active drug. In contact with the aqueous fluids of the gastrointestinal tract, the gel coat will rehydrate, swell and will sustain the release of active drug from the core. In order to facilitate the development and refinement of this novel coated system, it is beneficial to have a method that can produce free gel films in a manner that closely mimics the way the gel coat is formed and deposited on the pellet surface. Traditional film producing methods would involve the spraying or depositing (by evaporation) the gel forming polysaccharide on to an inert surface, drying it and then exposing the dry film to a solution containing calcium ions. Because the film is dry before it is gelled, it is fundamentally different to the wet gel coats that are deposited on to the pellets. We have developed a method to produce wet gel films and have evaluated different manufacturing conditions in order to optimize the quality of the completed gel film. Additionally, we have used these films to assess the effect that the type of polysaccharide and the environmental conditions experienced during rehydration (pH and ionic strength) has on the mechanical properties and the microscopic morphology of the gel. Irrespective of the rehydration medium, the calcium pectinate gel films were softer, weaker and more porous, than the calcium alginate films. Although calcium alginate gels that were rehydrated in 0.1 M NaCl were porous, the same films rehydrated in either water, simulated gastric fluid USP (without pepsin) or 0.1 M HCl were stronger and much more dense microscopically. Furthermore, of the four different alginates that were evaluated, those with a high content of guluronic acidsaccharides were the strongest but most brittle when rehydrated in water.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-80
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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