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We report an experimental investigation on the formation of liquid-core capsules having a thin hydrogel elastic membrane, named ‘liquid pearls’. These fish-egg-like structures are initially made of a millimetric liquid drop, aqueous or not, coated with an aqueous liquid film containing sodium alginate that gels once the double drop enters a calcium chloride bath. The creation of such pearls with a micrometer-thick membrane requires the suppression of mixing until gelling takes place. Here, we show that superimposing a two-dimensional surfactantprecipitation at the interface confers a transient rigidity that can damp the shear-induced instability at impact. Based on this, pearls containing almost any type of liquid can be created. This opens the possibility to use such structures as a new tool for screening microorganism survival and growth in various three-dimensional environments.
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