Standardization of a Method for Characterizing Low-Concentration Biogels: Elastic Properties of Low-Concentration Agarose Gels

[+] Author and Article Information
M. Benkherourou, P. Y. Guméry

Laboratoire d’Instrumentation Micro-Informatique et Electronique, Université Joseph Fourier, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble Cedex 9, France

C. Rochas

Laboratoire de Spectrométrie Physique, Université Joseph Fourier, CNRS UMR 5588, BP 87, 38042 Saint Martin d’Hères Cedex, France

P. Tracqui

Laboratoire des Techniques en Imagerie, Modélisation, et Cognition, CNRS UMR 5525, Université Joseph Fourier, Faculté de Médecine 38706, La Tronche Cedex, France

L. Tranqui

Laboratoire de Bióenerǵetique Fondamentale et Appliquée, Université Joseph Fourier, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble Cedex 9, France

J Biomech Eng 121(2), 184-187 (Apr 01, 1999) (4 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2835102 History: Received November 25, 1997; Revised September 08, 1998; Online January 23, 2008


Low-concentration biogels, which provide an extracellular matrix for cells in vitro, are involved in a number of important cell biological phenomena, such as cell motility and cell differentiation. In order to characterize soft tissues, which collapse under their own weight, we developed and standardized a new experimental device that enabled us to analyze the mechanical properties of floating biogels with low concentrations, i.e., with values ranging from 2 g/L to 5 g/L. In order to validate this approach, the mechanical responses of free floating agarose gel samples submitted to compression as well as stretching tests were quantified. The values of the Young’s moduli, measured in the range of 1000 to 10,000 Pa, are compared to the values obtained from other experimental techniques. Our results showed indeed that the values we obtained with our device closely match those obtained independently by performing compression tests on an Instron device. Thus, the floating gel technique is a useful tool first to characterize and then to model soft tissues that are used in biological science to study the interaction between cell and extracellular matrix.

Copyright © 1999 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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