alginic acid

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alginic acid

a hydrophilic colloidal carbohydrate obtained from seaweed, used as a tablet binder and emulsifying agent.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


A gelatinous polysaccharide extract from brown algae and salt of alginic acid, which is a linear polymer of mannuronic and glucuronic acids, found in the cell walls of algae. It is widely used in processed foods and in medicinal, industrial and household products, including swabs, filters and fire retardants.

Laminaria spp and Macrocystis pyrifera; a chemically different version of algin is produced by the bacterium Azobacter vinelandii.
Alginate can be formulated with gypsum into a plaster like compound to take impressions for crown and bridgework.
Alginates are used as foam, clotting agents and gauze in absorbable surgical dressings and packing.
Wound care
Alginate dressings are derived from seaweed made of soft non-woven fibres, and are available as pads, ropes or ribbons. Alginate dressings are extremely lightweight, absorb many times their own weight, form a gel-like covering over the wound, and maintain a moist environment. They are best used for wounds with significant exudate.

Especially useful for packing exudative wounds; do not physically inhibit wound contraction as does gauze; highly absorbent.
Requires a secondary dressing; too drying if wound has little exudate.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.

alginic acid

An ANTACID drug used in the treatment of stomach ulcer and indigestion. When supplied in combination with other drugs brand names are Gastrocote, Gaviscon and Topal.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005