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Fundamentals of electrospinning as a novel delivery vehicle for bioactive compounds in food nanotechnology

Ghorani, Behrouz, Tucker, Nick
Food hydrocolloids 2015 v.51 pp. 227-240
ambient temperature, aqueous solutions, bacteria, bioactive compounds, biopolymers, coagulation, denaturation, electrospraying, encapsulation, food industry, food technology, gastrointestinal system, hydrocolloids, nanocarriers, nanofibers, prebiotics, probiotics, spray drying, viability
Encapsulation of bioactive compounds and probiotic bacteria within prebiotic substances to protect or even enhance their survival whilst passing upper gastro-intestinal tract, is an area of great interest for both academia and the food industries. Different methods have been suggested, examined and applied to encapsulate and dry probiotics and bioactive compounds, for example spray drying. However, the harsh processing conditions of these methods can significantly reduce the viability of bacteria or damage the structure of the target molecules. Electrospinning (and the related process of electrospraying) both show promise as a novel delivery vehicle for supplementary food compounds because the process can work with an aqueous solution, at room temperature and without coagulation chemistry to produce matrices in the micro- and nano-range. The production of nanofibers (fiber diameters less than 1 μm) is a commonplace. Nanofiber materials produced by electrospinning have attracted particular attention in the food industry because of their potential as vehicles for sustained and controlled release. The room temperature process route is compatible with food grade polymers and biopolymers, and allows efficient encapsulation by reducing denaturation, and enhancing stability of bioactives. Consequently, there is clear potential to develop electrospun fibrous assemblies to advance the design and performance of novel products and delivery systems for supplementary food compounds. To optimize production conditions and maximize throughput, a clear understanding the mechanism of electrospinning is essential. This paper presents a comprehensive review of the fundamentals of electrospinning to produce nanofibers suitable for food technology application particularly for use in encapsulation and as nano-carriers.