Ionically crosslinked hydrogels

Some of the earliest hydrogels used for cell encapsulation were, (not ironically) naturally derived, ionically crosslinked materials, such as alginate, chitin and agarose. Although somewhat low-tech, these were a natural place to start.

What are hydrogels?

Most people are familiar with Jell-O or jelly desserts – probably the most widely used and well known hydrogel ever used. Jell-O is made by dissolving gelatin, a protein polymer produced from collagen, in warm water.