Development and Characterization of Lipid-Based Nanosystems: Effect of Interfacial Composition on Nanoemulsion Behavior

  • Hélder D. Silva
  • Miguel A. CerqueiraEmail author
  • Francesco Donsì
  • Ana C. Pinheiro
  • Giovanna Ferrari
  • António A. Vicente
Original Paper


Nanoemulsions were successfully developed through high-pressure homogenization. The layer-by-layer electrostatic technique was used for the subsequent deposition of a chitosan and alginate polyelectrolyte layers, thus leading to the development of a multilayer nanoemulsion. The effect of polyelectrolytes concentration in the development of multilayer nanoemulsions was evaluated in terms of hydrodynamic diameter (Hd), polydispersity index (PdI), zeta potential (Zp), and curcumin encapsulation efficiency. The interactions between polyelectrolytes and nanoemulsion were further analyzed using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and quartz crystal microbalance (QCM), while curcumin degradation was determined through the evaluation of the antioxidant capacity of the nanosystems. Results showed an encapsulation efficiency of 99.8 ± 0.8% and a loading capacity of 0.53 ± 0.03% (w/w). The presence of the multilayers leads to an increase of the Hd of the nanosystems, from 80.0 ± 0.9 nm (nanoemulsion) to 130.1 ± 1.5 nm (multilayer nanoemulsion). Release profiles were evaluated at different conditions, fitting a linear superposition model to experimental data suggests an anomalous behavior, being the relaxation of the surfactant and polyelectrolytes the rate-determining phenomena in curcumin release. The developed nanosystems showed great potential for the incorporation of lipophilic bioactive compounds, in view of their application in food and pharmaceutical products.


Multilayer Nanoemulsion pH-responsive behavior Curcumin degradation Controlled release 



The authors Hélder D. Silva and Ana C. Pinheiro (SFRH/BD/81288/2011, SFRH/BPD/101181/2014, respectively) are the recipients of a fellowship from the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT, Portugal). The authors would like to acknowledge Rui Fernandes from IBMC, University of Porto, for assistance in taking the TEM pictures and Estefanía López Silva, from CACTI, University of Vigo for assistance in the FTIR analysis. The authors thank the FCT Strategic Project PEst-OE/EQB/LA0023/2013 and the project “BioInd–Biotechnology and Bioengineering for improved Industrial and Agro-Food processes,” REF.NORTE-07-0124- FEDER-000028, co-funded by the Programa Operacional Regional do Norte (ON.2 – O Novo Norte), QREN, FEDER. We also thank the European Commission: BIOCAPS (316265, FP7/REGPOT-2012-2013.1). This work was supported by the “CARINA” project for the safeness, sustainability, and competitiveness of agro-food productions of Campania Region. The support of EU Cost Action FA1001 is gratefully acknowledged. The authors also acknowledge Stepan for providing the Neobee 1053 oil.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre of Biological EngineeringUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal
  2. 2.International Iberian Nanotechnology LaboratoryBragaPortugal
  3. 3.Department of Industrial EngineeringUniversity of SalernoFiscianoItaly
  4. 4.ProdAl Scarl, Competence Center on Agro-Food ProductionsUniversity of SalernoFiscianoItaly

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