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Development and optimization of the ethanol injection method for production of beta-carotene loaded liposomes and its applications in the food industry

Grant number: 12/03125-6
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: June 01, 2012 - November 30, 2013
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering
Principal Investigator:Lucimara Gaziola de la Torre
Grantee:Lucimara Gaziola de la Torre
Host Institution: Faculdade de Engenharia Química (FEQ). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:Leide Passos Cavalcanti ; Samantha Cristina de Pinho


This project aims the technological development of a scalable liposome production process, using the modified ethanol injection method for applications in the food industry, by incorporating beta-carotene into these nanoaggregates. The beta-carotene is a natural antioxidant, pro-vitaminic and it can be used as a natural colorant in food formulations. However, its high hidrofobicity difficults the application in water based foods. The development of processes that are feasible to be implemented in the food indutry focusing the encapsulation of beta-carotene in liposomes is an actual challenge. The ethanol injection method has been recently modified for the production of cationic liposomes aiming the vehiculation of DNA vaccines. It consists of the injection of high concentration alcoholic dispersions in a reactor containing the aqueous phase and it is being investigated by the research group coordinated by the responsible for this project. Hydrogenated soy phosphatidylcholine will be used for the production of the liposomes. In the first step, the ethanol injection method will be investigated, aiming the optimization of the operational parameters for the production of nanoaggregates with controled size and polydispersity. The investigated paremeters will be (i) type of stirrer (TURRAX or Caules), (ii) lipid concentration in the alcoholic phase, (iii) reactor temperature and (iv) alcoholic dispersions (containing the lipid) flow rate. Subsequently, the beta-carotene incorporation will be evaluated during or after the liposomes formation. This liposomes will be characterized for their mean hydrodynamic diameter, zeta potential, polydispersity, morfology, bilayer fluidity and structural analysis using small angle X ray scattering technique (SAXS). These liposomes will also be evaluated in a standard food matrix, that will be carried out in partnership with the Faculdade de Zootecnia e Engenharia de Alimentos (FZEA). In addition, these liposomes containing beta-carotene will be incorporated in zein nanofibers, via international colaboration with the Instituto de Agroquímica y Tecnologia de Alimentos in Valencia, Spain, in which the electrospinning technique is already being studied. Thus it is expected that this work will contribute to the development of new processes and new materials to be used in the food sector. (AU)

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