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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Plant Polymer Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #357908

Research Project: Renewable Biobased Particles

Location: Plant Polymer Research

Title: Optimal conditions for the encapsulation of menthol into zein nanoparticles

item Kim, Sanghoon
item Peterson, Steven - Steve

Submitted to: LWT - Food Science and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/26/2021
Publication Date: 3/1/2021
Citation: Kim, S., Peterson, S.C. 2021. Optimal conditions for the encapsulation of menthol into zein nanoparticles. LWT - Food Science and Technology. 144:Article 111213.

Interpretive Summary: This research is for the inclusion of useful ingredients inside tiny particles (i.e., microparticles). Zein is one of the proteins found inside corn. Although this inclusion process has been used in many applications, no previous publication has discussed the optimum conditions for this process. In this research, the optimum conditions for the inclusion of menthol (a major component of peppermint oil) into zein microparticles was investigated. This research found that more than 90% of menthol could be loaded into zein microparticles. Similar conditions could also be used for loading other chemical compounds, such as pesticides. This research has provided detailed information on the procedure for the inclusion of chemical ingredients into zein microparticles. Scientists in industry and academia developing drug-carrying microparticles would benefit. This research advances the particulation process and farmers benefit from the cost savings by using encapsulated pesticides.

Technical Abstract: Zein is one of the seed storage proteins found in the endosperm of maize. It is soluble in aqueous ethanol solutions with high ethanol content, and forms aggregates when the ethanol content of solution is lowered. This unique structural variation has been utilized to prepare microcapsules that carry hydrophobic drugs. In this research, the optimum condition for the encapsulation of chemical compounds in zein microcapsules was investigated. For that purpose, the major component of peppermint oil, menthol, was used as a model system. Ethanol content of the solvent for zein, concentrations of zein and menthol, the weight ratio of menthol/zein, and ethanol content of the product solution are the major controlling factors that govern the encapsulation efficiency of the procedure. This research reveals that the encapsulation efficiency can readily surpass 90%. The optimum condition found for the encapsulation of menthol can be applied to other chemical compounds that dissolve in ethanol and are phase-separated in lower ethanol content to form emulsions.