An indigenous Cellulosimicrobium cellulans GS6 isolate able to solubilize insoluble phosphate complexes in soil is a potential bacterial fertilizer. Enclosure of the phosphate-solubilizing bacterium (PSB) in biodegradable capsules may protect the PSB cells inoculated into soil and, in the meantime, enable the control of cell release that confers long-term fertilizing effects. In this study, calcium alginate (CA) was used as the core matrix to encapsulate cells of C. cellulans GS6. The cell-liberating properties of the CA-based capsules were modified by blending with a variety of supplemental materials (SM), including chitin, cellulose, olive oil, and gelatin. The experimental results showed that the maximum cell-release percentage (MCR%) of the capsules decreased in the order of CA-cellulose > CA-olive oil > CA-chitin > CA-gelatin > CA. Furthermore, a mass transport model was developed to accurately describe the kinetics of cell release results for each capsule. The diffusion coefficient (De) of each capsule was also determined from the model simulation. We found that the estimated De values are positively correlated to the release rate with rare exceptions. Lastly, as our results underscored the crucial roles that the type of capsules plays in the rate and amount of cell release, controlled release of the bacterial fertilizer (C. cellulans GS6 cells) may be achieved via the design of capsule materials.
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