Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Cuadros T.R., Skurtys O. and Aguilera J.M. (2012)

Mechanical properties of calcium alginate fibers produced with a microfluidic device. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.carbpol.2012.03.094

Revista : Carbohydrate Polymers
Volumen : 89
Número : 4
Páginas : 1198-1206
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


Fibers are important microstructural elements in many foods. The main objective of this research was to produce calcium alginate fibers with uniform diameters (about 300 and 550 mu m) using a microfluidic device (MFD) and to study the effect of concentration of sodium alginate [Alg] and calcium chloride [CaCl2] on their mechanical properties (MP). Moisture content (MO) and MP as maximum tensile stress (sigma(max)), tensile strain at break (Delta L/L-0) and apparent Young’s modulus (E) of fibers were determined and a statistical model and surface responses were developed as a function of [Alg] and [CaCl2]. As [CaCl2] increased first a strengthening and then a weakening of fibers were observed. Furthermore, sigma(max) increased with the addition of Ca2+ and a maximum of sigma(max) was obtained for a [CaCl2] around 1.4% (exceeding several times the stoichiometric requirements of the carboxylate groups of the polymer). Such behavior prompted a molecular explanation of what happens during gelation based on the «egg-box model» and this model is tried to complete. Moreover, fibers with [Alg] >= 1.8% showed high extensibility (Delta L/L-0 around 100%) and low values of MO. High values of E (similar to 0.5 MPa) were obtained for [CaCl2] close to 1.4%. A greater understanding is needed of the interaction between cation-polysaccharide-water, taking into account [Alg] and [CaCl2] to predict the mechanical behavior of fibers. Calcium alginate fibers are important in food engineering as texture and microencapsulation agents. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.