Ca-alginate beads were prepared with either external or internal calcium sources. The structures of both beads were investigated with the aid of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and confocal microscopy. It was shown that the beads with internal calcium source had a looser structure and bigger pore size than those with external calcium source. The attempts to interpret the difference were carried out by determining the Ca content within the beads at various times, which indicated that it was the different gelation mechanisms that caused the difference of structures of both beads. Furthermore, it was also found that the diffusion rate of haemoglobin (Hb) within the beads with an internal calcium source was faster than that of the beads with an external one, which was consistent with the observation of their structures.
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