Novel formulations of alginate and its derivatives in microbial infections, biomedical implants, and cancers

Document Type : Mini-Review


1 School of Biotechnology, College of Science, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Medical Microbiology, Faculty of Science and Health, Koya University, Koya KOY45, Kurdistan Region - F.R., Iraq



Biopolymers or natural polymers are synthesized by living organisms such as plants, bacteria, and fungi with biocompatibility and biologically degradable properties. New investigations are critical for the development of new composite polymers with appropriate therapeutic applications. Several biopolymers such as alginate, cellulose, and chitosan have been employed as promising antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and anticancer agents and biomedical implants. Among these natural polymers, amphiphilic alginate polymer is a biocompatible and biodegradable carrier, suitable to encapsulate hydrophilic active substances in various forms of formulations such as hydrogels and nanogels. Introducing hydrophobic constituents such as hydrophobic polymers and alkyl chains can be used to prepare alginate derivatives. Improved solubilization, sustained release, and prolonged half-time are required for clinical translation of alginate-based therapies. Advantages and limitations of alginate formulations in micro and nanoscale, as well as possibilities to improve the field, will be discussed in this mini-review.

Graphical Abstract

Novel formulations of alginate and its derivatives in microbial infections, biomedical implants, and cancers


  • Poor mechanical stability and incompatibility with heavy have been indicated as the major limitations of alginate formulation.
  • Alginate having high mannuronic acid can activate macrophages as an immunomodulator and lead to killing viruses such as SARS-CoV-2.
  • Micelles based on alginate-containing polyphenols such as gallic acid and curcumin have exhibited significant anti-tumor activity.
  • As micro and nanocarriers, alginate in combination with PVA and chitosan has been applied to encapsulate metal/metal oxide NPs.
  • Ca-alginate gels, as allogenic implants of chondrocytes can repair articular cartilage.


Main Subjects

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