Solute distribution and stability in emulsion-based delivery systems: An EPR study

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Oil-in-water emulsions and related systems are often used to deliver hydrophobic solutes in foods, personal care products, and pharmaceuticals. Recent work has considered the use of crystalline lipid carrier particles (i.e., solid lipid nanoparticles, SLN) to control the availability of the solute; however, there is little direct evidence for the localization of small molecules in these systems. Alkanes (10. wt.% tetradecane or eicosane) containing the spin probe 4-phenyl-2,2,5,5-tetramethyl-3-imidazoline-1-oxyl (PTMIO, 200. ppm) were homogenized into sodium caseinate solution (1. wt.%) to produce fine or coarse droplets (0.2 μm or 1.3 μm, respectively) and cooled to 21.5 °C where eicosane is crystalline and tetradecane is liquid. Analysis of the resulting EPR spectra revealed populations of probe in two discrete environments (i.e., aqueous and lipid). PTMIO is largely hydrophobic with 77% and 70% present in the coarse and fine liquid lipid droplets (i.e., tetradecane droplets), respectively. In the solid droplets (i.e., eicosane), all of the probe was excluded from the droplets into the aqueous environment. In all cases, the mobility of the probe in both lipid and aqueous environments was affected by the droplet surface; thus, we hypothesize that the majority of the probe molecules are associated with the droplet interface. The PTMIO was reduced to an EPR-silent form by the addition of iron/ascorbate to the aqueous phase, and the apparent rate constant of the reaction was proportional to the fraction of the spin probe in the aqueous phase. Based on these findings, we propose that droplet crystallization excludes solute molecules from the droplet core to the aqueous environment where they interact with the droplet surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-113
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Colloid And Interface Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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