Science Bulletin 62 (2017) 1283–1290


Microcarriers have a demonstrated value for biomedical applications, in particular for drug delivery and three-dimensional cell culture. Attempts to develop this technique tend to focus on the fabrication of functional microparticles by using convenient methods with innovative but accessible materials. Inspired by the everyday process of boiling an egg, which results in the solidification of egg proteins, Professor Yuanjin Zhao’s group from Southeast University proposed a new microfluidic cooking method to generate egg-derived microcarriers for cell culture and drug delivery. As the egg emulsion droplets are formed with exquisite precision during the microfluidic emulsification, the resultant egg microcarriers present highly monodisperse and uniform morphologies at the size range of hundred microns to one millimeter. Benefiting from the excellent biocompatibility of the egg protein components, the obtained microcarriers showed good performances of cell adherence and growth. In addition, after a freezing treatment, the egg microcarriers were shown to have interconnected porous structures throughout their whole sphere, could absorb and load different kinds of drugs or other active molecules, and work as microcarrier-based delivery systems. These features point to the potential value of the microfluidic egg microcarriers in biomedicine.