Alginate/silica hybrid materials for immobilization of green microalgae Chlorella vulgaris for cell-based sensor arrays

Angela Pannier, Ulrich Soltmann, Bettina Soltmann, Rolf Altenburger, Mechthild Schmitt-Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations


Thin layers and patterned dot arrays of sodium alginate containing living microalgal cells were deposited onto glass carriers which were subsequently gelled using amino-functionalized silica sol to obtain reinforced alginate hydrogels. The resulting alginate/silica hybrid materials showed improved stability in salt-containing solutions compared to alginate gels gelled by traditional methods using Ca2+-ions. Cell arrays were patterned by printing nanolitre-scale drops of sodium alginate/cell suspension using a non-contact micro-dosage system which allows the printing of solutions of high viscosity. Cultures of the green microalga Chlorella vulgaris were immobilized within the newly developed alginate/silica hydrogels in order to demonstrate the potential of the hybrid matrix for the design of cell-based detection systems. The herbicide atrazine as well as copper ions have been used as model toxicants. Short-term toxicity tests (exposure time: 1 h) have been carried out using atrazine and changes in chlorophyll a (Chl a) fluorescence were measured by imaging pulse amplitude modulated-fluorometry (Imaging-PAM). C. vulgaris cells immobilized within alginate/silica hydrogels demonstrated a highly reproducible response pattern and compared well to freely suspended cells. Activity and response sensitivity of immobilized cells to atrazine was largely maintained for up to 8 weeks, especially when stored under cool conditions in the dark. Furthermore, immobilized cells could be repeatingly used for short-term toxicity tests as atrazine produces a reversible inhibition of photosynthesis. This journal is

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7896-7909
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry B
Issue number45
StatePublished - Dec 7 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)

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