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Artificial cells

Cell encapsulation maintains three main natural functions:

  • allows survival while also preserving functionality
  • protection from an immune response and external frictional forces
  • allows diffusion of nutrients in and also products out through the protective membrane

Schematic representation of micro-capsular bioreactor system whereby cells are encapsulated within a semi-permeable membrane for protection from environmental influences.


These benefits can be used in the two main application fields:

  • Medical: Develop of new treatments for high social impact diseases (Diabetes, Par­kinson’s etc.) [1] and human transplantation, as well as the employment in clinical trials.
  • Bioprocessing: It has been examined on its potential to increase production yields [2] and significantly reduce the costs associated with producing re­combinant proteins used for the development of new medicines.

Technology for encapsulate cells

BUCHI offers you the Encapsulator B-395 Pro to produce small, mono-dispersed, homogenous and spherically shaped capsules, with a narrow size distribution under mild and gentle conditions by the Prilling by Vibration technique. These criteria are the base to successfully apply cell microencapsulation to medical research, bioprocessing and clinical applications. [3]

Alginate-Poly-L-Lysine-Alginate Cell Encapsulation System

The alginate-poly-L-lysine-alginate membrane system for encapsulating cells is the most widely used technique to encap­sulate cells within a polymeric membrane. The procedure is divided up into five main steps:

  • Formation of droplets which contain the cells
  • Gelling of the droplets into solid beads
  • Coating of the outer surface with a layer
  • Incubate the beads to form a second thin membrane
  • Liquefy the core

Schematic showing the five different steps (labelled 1-5) involved in the procedure for encapsulating cells in the alginate-poly-L-lysine-alginate membrane system.

Reference List

[1] Orive et. al., Trends in Biotechnology. 2004;22:87-92.

[2] Breguet et. al., Cytotechnology. 2007;53:81-93.

[3] Whelehan et. al., Journal of Microencapsulation. 2011;28:669-688.