The audience award of the ChemistryViews 2023 Photo Competition went to this atmospheric image of blue calcium alginate ‘beads’. 

While waiting for another incubation, Antonio Molina-García saw his chance to capture these newly formed calcium alginate beads. Molina-García, a senior scientist at the Institute of Food Science and Technology ICTAN in Madrid, uses such ‘beads’ in his research into the cryopreservation of plant germplasm. Calcium alginate beads protect the fragile material from changes in temperature and humidity. This is why they are also called ‘artificial seeds’. The beads are easy to form: a drop of sodium alginate is added to a solution of calcium chloride, and after a few minutes a cross-linked calcium alginate gel is formed.

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original picture-straight

Beeld: Antonio D. Molina-García