We have designed multifunctional silver alginate hydrogel microcontainers referred to as loaded microcapsules with different sizes by assembling them via a template assisted approach using natural, highly porous calcium carbonate cores. Sodium alginate was immobilized into the pores of calcium carbonate particles of different sizes followed by cross-linking via addition of silver ions, which had a dual purpose: on one hand, the were used as a cross-linking agent, albeit in the monovalent form, while on the other hand they have led to formation of silver nanoparticles. Monovalent silver ions, an unusual cross-linking agent, improve the sensitivity to ultrasound, lead to homogeneous distribution of silver nanoparticles. Silver nanoparticles appeared on the shell of the alginate microcapsules in the twin-structure as determined by transmission electron microscopy. Remote release of a payload from alginate containers by ultrasound was found to strongly depend on the particle size. The possibility to use such particles as a platform for label-free molecule detection based on the surface enhanced Raman scattering was demonstrated. Cytotoxicity and cell uptake studies conducted in this work have revealed that microcontainers exhibit nonessential level of toxicity with an efficient uptake of cells. The above-described functionalities constitute building blocks of a theranostic system, where detection and remote release can be achieved with the same carrier.
- cell uptake
- silver alginate hydrogel micro- and nanocontainers
- silver nanoparticles
- ultrasound-induced release