Control release of bioactive lipid components on the nano scale.
There is a lack of effective delivery systems for encapsulating and releasing bioactive lipid components, such as carotenoids and phytosterols. This is holding back the development of functional foods that could fight coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Delivery systems consisting of lipid droplets encapsulated by nano-laminated biopolymer coatings have potential, but there is some concern about the bioavailability of the encapsulated lipids.
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts plan to determine the relationship between the physicochemical characteristics of nano-laminated biopolymer coatings and the bioavailability of encapsulated lipids. In vitro studies, using a simulated gastrointestinal tract, should provide fundamental mechanistic insights into the impact of specific coating properties such as composition, thickness and charge, on lipid digestibility.
This research can lead to the creation of delivery systems with controllable lipid bioavailability: fully digestible, fully indigestible or targeted release systems. Fully digestible coatings could be utilized in high-performance delivery systems that encapsulate and protect bioactive lipids, including omega-3 fatty acids, carotenoids and phytosterols, during storage, without adversely affecting their bioavailability.
Fully indigestible coatings could be used to create innovative reduced-calorie foods, by making some or all of the lipid phase indigestible. Or, you could harness coatings that control digestibility in targeted delivery systems that deliver bioactive components to specific locations within the GI tract.
The new research would build upon previous work demonstrating the potential of nano-laminated coatings at improving the stability and performance of emulsified lipids. In addition, it would form the platform for future research, including the development of nano-laminated coatings to encapsulate, protect and deliver other food components--flavors.
The scientists intend to determine the role that nano-laminated coating properties would play in the in vitro digestibility and release of lipids, and the impact of the composition and structure of nano-laminated coatings on the bioavailability of encapsulated lipids.
The investigators developed an interfacial engineering technique to encapsulate lipophilic food components within multilayer nano-laminated biopolymer coatings. Using a multi-step in vitro digestion method to screen the performance of different biopolymer coatings on lipid digestibility, they showed that the properties of interfacial coatings, such as thickness, composition, charge and structure, influence lipid digestibility, which aids in the rational design of functional food products.
Further information. Eric A. Decker, Department of Food Science, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Room 244, Chenoweth Laboratory, Amherst, MA 01003; phone: 413-545-1026; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.