Development of a Lipid Particle for β-Carotene Encapsulation Using a Blend of Tristearin and Sunflower Oil: Choice of Lipid Matrix and Evaluation of Shelf Life of Dispersions

Graziela V. L. Gomes1, Izabella A. S. Simplício1, Eliana B. Souto2,3, Lisandro P. Cardoso4 and Samantha C. Pinho1*

1Department of Food Engineering, Faculty of Animal Science and Food Engineering, University of São Paulo (USP), Av. Duque de Caxias Norte, CEP 13635-900 Pirassununga, SP, Brazil
Faculty of Health Sciences, Fernando Pessoa University (FCS-UFP), Rua Carlos da Maia 296, PT-4200-150 Porto, Portugal

Institute of Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Centre of Genomics and Biotechnology, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (CGB-UTAD/IBB), P.O. Box 1013, PT-5001-801 Vila Real, Portugal

Department of Applied Physics, Institute of Physics 'Gleb Wataghin', State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Rua Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, CEP 13083-859, Campinas, SP, Brazil

Article history:

Received May 18, 2012

Accepted November 6, 2012

Key words:

solid lipid particles, β-carotene, encapsulation

Solid lipid particles are colloidal carriers that have been studied for almost 20 years in the pharmaceutical field and recently have been investigated by food researchers due to their capacity to enhance the incorporation of lipophilic bioactives and their bioavailability in aqueous formulations. The aims of this study are to choose a suitable lipid matrix to produce solid lipid particles, which would be used to encapsulate β-carotene, and to evaluate the capacity of dispersions to protect the incorporated carotenoid. Bulk lipid mixtures of tristearin and sunflower oil were analysed by differential scanning calorimetry and wide angle X-ray diffraction, and the mixture with the highest degree of structural disorganisation was chosen. β-Carotene was then encapsulated in solid lipid particles produced with this mixture, composed of 70 % tristearin and 30 % sunflower oil (6 % total lipid) and stabilised with hydrogenated soy lecithin and Tween 80 (3 % total surfactant) by hot pressure homogenisation. Two types of particles were produced, using one or two passages in the homogenisation step. Average particle size, zeta potential, thermal behaviour, crystallinity and β-carotene concentration were monitored over 4 months of storage (under refrigerated conditions). The results showed minor differences between the systems in terms of size distribution, although the particles produced with one passage through the homogeniser were slightly more efficient at protecting the β-carotene from degradation and also suffered few microstructural alterations after 4 months. 

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