Plant derived products with important industrial applications, in particular in pharmaceutical and food sectors are complex mixtures of substances. However, the biological activity of many natural products can be severely reduced or lost after the oral intake, due to the low solubility in the normal conditions of gastrointestinal tract (small absorption), and/or the first-pass metabolism. The micro and nanoencapsulation of natural actives is an emergent technology, which has been used currently aiming to solve various problems linked to the stability and biodisponibility of these compounds. This technique consist in the inclusion of the active agent in an protector shell, which can be a coat film composed of derivates of carbohydrates, gums, proteins, lipids, or other natural or synthetic polymeric materials. This technology permits, as example, transform liquid and volatile substances in solids, protect and modulate the active delivery, as well as to overcome instability and incompatibility problems in formulations. The main goal of this research project is to investigate technological routes for the obtaining solid lipid particles (micro and nanostructures) for the modulation of the delivery of natural actives (e.g. crude extracts, and semi purified or isolated compounds), emphasizing production processes, type of excipients, procedures for the physical and chemical characterization, stability and evaluation of biological activity of the product.The Camellia sinensis (green tea) was the plant species selected for the project development, due to its high polyphenol content and, in special, to the presence of catechins, which have an important role of in the prevention of degenerative diseases as cancer and diabetes, and possess antioxidant, antimicrobial and antiviral activities. However, the instabilities presented by catechins (degradation by auto-oxidation and epimerization reactions), significantly decrease their efficacy, which makes the green tea extract and their isolated compounds excellent candidates for studies linked to the increase in functionality, stability and biodisponibility.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: