Polymer-dispersed bicontinuous cubic glycolipid nanoparticles

Thomas Abraham, Masakatsu Hato, Mitsuhiro Hirai

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43 Scopus citations


We found that certain amphiphilic polymers such as PEO-PPO-PEO triblock copolymer (PL) can directly disperse a cubic glycolipid, 1-O-phytanyl-β-D- xyloside (β-XP), into bicontinuous cubic nanoparticles in water medium. The use of synchrotron small-angle X-ray diffraction (SSAXD) permitted the identification of the exact structure of these dispersed particles in the colloidal state. Dynamic light scattering method was used to obtain particle size distributions. The dispersion quality and the dispersion time can be improved by co-dissolving the lipid and the polymer in a common solvent. The mean volume diameter of these dispersed colloidal particles depends on the mixing time and polymer concentration. About 5 wt % (0.18 mol %) of polymer to lipid weight was found to be sufficient to produce stable colloidal dispersions. At this polymer content and at 3 h of stirring time, the mean volume diameter of cubic colloidal particles was found to be 1.0 μm. Increase of dispersion time to 6 h reduced the colloidal particle size from 1.0 μm to 660 nm. At 3 h of mixing time, the increase of polymer content, from ∼5 to ∼10 wt %, reduced the particle mean diameter from 1.0 μm to 675 nm. Irrespective of these dispersion times and polymer contents, the dispersed colloidal particles exhibit predominately the Pn3m cubic phase structure, the same as that of a β-XP-water binary mixture, although a weak coexistence of Im3m cubic phase is identified in these colloidal particles. This coexistence is found to have the characteristics of a Bonnet relation, which forms convincing evidence for the infinite periodic minimal surface descriptions (IPMS). Considering the biotechnological significance, the preparation of these colloidal dispersions was carried out in a phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) system. These cubic colloidal dispersions exhibited good stability and the cubic phase structure remained intact in the PBS system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-262
Number of pages8
JournalBiotechnology Progress
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Biotechnology
  • Microbiology


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