• Jin ChenEmail author
  • Ling Chen
  • Fengwei Xie
  • Xiaoxi Li


Among all polysaccharides, starch has been widely used in the pharmaceutical domain due to its low cost, its various sources, and high availability. Starch is organized in discrete granules whose morphology and supramolecular structure depend on the organization’s way of amylose and amylopectin. The granule architecture determines the accessibility of starch to water or enzymes, thus affecting the gelatinization and enzymatic hydrolysis behavior. Gelatinization of starch is vital for its functional properties; and once on cooling, the gelatinized starch undergoes retrogradation, with the starch molecules reassociating into partially ordered structures that differ from those in native granules. These structural changes of starch may cause significant differences in its digestion. Generally, starch can be digested by human enzymes, which gives starch great biodegradability. Yet, the fast degradation of starch could be a hurdle in the application of starch in drug delivery systems (DDSs). Therefore, natural starches should be modified by physical, chemical, and enzymatic methods in order to expand the application of starch as drug carriers. Armed with the structural, physicochemical, and enzymatic information of starch, the advanced and well-controlled starch-based DDSs can be realized.


Starch Supramolecular structure Gelatinization and retrogradation Enzymatic hydrolysis Resistant starch Modified starch 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Guangdong Province Key Laboratory for Green Processing of Natural Products and Product Safety, School of Food Science and Engineering, Ministry of Education Engineering Research Center of Starch and Protein ProcessingSouth China University of TechnologyGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.International Institute for Nanocomposites Manufacturing (IINM), WMGUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK

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