Degradation and bioavailability of dried alginate hydrocolloid capsules in simulated soil system

Yigal Achmon*, F. Ryan Dowdy, Christopher W. Simmons, Cheinat Zohar-Perez, Zahi Rabinovitz, Amos Nussinovitch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Hydrocolloid capsules are common chemical carriers used in many types of applications in foods, biotechnology, and agriculture. Alginate microbeads and macrobeads are some of the more prevalent types of hydrocolloid capsules. Most studies to date have focused on alginate carrier applications but only a few have looked at their bioavailability after use. In this study, alginate carriers were subjected to simulated field conditions and their biodegradation in the soil was evaluated by respiration measurements, visualization, and volatile solids reduction. Using respiration rate, the degradation rate was calculated at 32 ± 3.1% (w/w) after 2 months. The visually estimated volume and volatile solids reduction gave degradation rates of 40 ± 8.6% (v/v) and 22.5 ± 2.5% (w/w), respectively. Moreover, water-loss calculations suggested that the carriers can serve as a stand-alone soil amendment for water retention. These findings emphasize the importance of studying hydrocolloid bioavailability in the soil and alginate carrier suitability for future applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number48142
JournalJournal of Applied Polymer Science
Issue number43
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2019


  • alginate
  • biodegradation in soil
  • hydrocolloid
  • polymer degradation
  • soil respiration


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