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New Technologies for Encapsulation of Small Molecules and Plant Extracts II

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Applied Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2024) | Viewed by 5327

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Interests: polyphenols; biological molecules; proteins; lipid membranes; molecular adaptation to high temperatures; nano and micro encapsulation of bioactive compounds and microorganisms by applying new techologies and advanced materials
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Interests: encapsulation of bioactive compounds and microorganisms with conventional and advanced approaches, such as submicron spray drying, gelation and emulsification, valorisation of production residues and food waste
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, the encapsulation of small molecules and plant extracts has made significant progress in the food, pharmaceutical, and material sciences. Many innovative technologies for encapsulation are being developed and applied, with particular interest in biological compounds with high added value from plant sources. The remarkable properties of these compounds, such as beneficial nutritional, medical, and structural properties as well as antimicrobial and antioxidant activities and the additional functionality of encapsulation, allow the application of such systems for the production of functional foods or the enrichment and preservation of foods and materials.

While many conventional applications of encapsulation have been translated into production and practical use, recent advances in biochemical characterization, novel extraction and separation methods, in-depth knowledge of carrier-molecule interactions, and innovations in material design and self-assembly approaches provide additional insights into the properties of small molecules, plant extracts and encapsulation carriers.

This Special Issue's goal is to capture the current state of the art and contemporary progress in this field. Proposed topics are: Advanced encapsulation systems, natural products, biopolymers, nanocarriers, self-assembly, carrier formulation, drug delivery, novel extraction/separation methods, phytochemicals, essential oils, volatile compounds, plant extracts, and microorganisms including new appropriate characterization approaches.

Prof. Dr. Natasa Poklar Ulrih
Dr. Ilja Gasan Osojnik Črnivec
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • nanoencapsulation
  • microencapsulation
  • self-assembly
  • biopolymers
  • non-conventional extraction/separation
  • bioactive compounds
  • essential oils
  • volatile compounds
  • plant extracts
  • microorganisms

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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18 pages, 3049 KiB  
Article
Dragon’s Blood Sap Microencapsulation within Whey Protein Concentrate and Zein Using Electrospraying Assisted by Pressurized Gas Technology
by Juan David Escobar-García, Cristina Prieto, Maria Pardo-Figuerez and Jose M. Lagaron
Molecules 2023, 28(10), 4137; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28104137 - 17 May 2023
Viewed by 1065
Abstract
Dragon’s blood sap (DBS) obtained from the bark of Croton lechleri (Müll, Arg.) is a complex herbal remedy of pharmacological interest due to its high content in polyphenols, specifically proanthocyanidins. In this paper, electrospraying assisted by pressurized gas (EAPG) was first compared with [...] Read more.
Dragon’s blood sap (DBS) obtained from the bark of Croton lechleri (Müll, Arg.) is a complex herbal remedy of pharmacological interest due to its high content in polyphenols, specifically proanthocyanidins. In this paper, electrospraying assisted by pressurized gas (EAPG) was first compared with freeze-drying to dry natural DBS. Secondly, EAPG was used for the first time to entrap natural DBS at room temperature into two different encapsulation matrices, i.e., whey protein concentrate (WPC) and zein (ZN), using different ratios of encapsulant material: bioactive compound, for instance 2:1 w/w and 1:1 w/w. The obtained particles were characterized in terms of morphology, total soluble polyphenolic content (TSP), antioxidant activity, and photo-oxidation stability during the 40 days of the experiment. Regarding the drying process, EAPG produced spherical particles with sizes of 11.38 ± 4.34 µm, whereas freeze-drying produced irregular particles with a broad particle size distribution. However, no significant differences were detected between DBS dried by EAPG or freeze-drying in TSP, antioxidant activity, and photo-oxidation stability, confirming that EAPG is a mild drying process suitable to dry sensitive bioactive compounds. Regarding the encapsulation process, the DBS encapsulated within the WPC produced smooth spherical microparticles, with average sizes of 11.28 ± 4.28 µm and 12.77 ± 4.54 µm for ratios 1:1 w/w and 2:1 w/w, respectively. The DBS was also encapsulated into ZN producing rough spherical microparticles, with average sizes of 6.37 ± 1.67 µm and 7.58 ± 2.54 µm for ratios 1:1 w/w and 2:1 w/w, respectively. The TSP was not affected during the encapsulation process. However, a slight reduction in antioxidant activity measured by DPPH was observed during encapsulation. An accelerated photo-oxidation test under ultraviolet light confirmed that the encapsulated DBS showed an increased oxidative stability in comparison with the non-encapsulated DBS, with the stability being enhanced for the ratio of 2:1 w/w. Among the encapsulating materials and according to the ATR-FTIR results, ZN showed increased protection against UV light. The obtained results demonstrate the potential of EAPG technology in the drying or encapsulation of sensitive natural bioactive compounds in a continuous process available at an industrial scale, which could be an alternative to freeze-drying. Full article
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21 pages, 4815 KiB  
Article
Comparing the Effects of Encapsulated and Non-Encapsulated Propolis Extracts on Model Lipid Membranes and Lactic Bacteria, with Emphasis on the Synergistic Effects of Its Various Compounds
by Luka Šturm, Ilja Gasan Osojnik Črnivec, Iztok Prislan and Nataša Poklar Ulrih
Molecules 2023, 28(2), 712; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28020712 - 11 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1187
Abstract
Propolis is a resinous compound made by bees with well-known biological activity. However, comparisons between encapsulated and non-encapsulated propolis are lacking. Therefore, the antibacterial activity, effect on the phase transition of lipids, and inhibition of UV-induced lipid oxidation of the two forms of [...] Read more.
Propolis is a resinous compound made by bees with well-known biological activity. However, comparisons between encapsulated and non-encapsulated propolis are lacking. Therefore, the antibacterial activity, effect on the phase transition of lipids, and inhibition of UV-induced lipid oxidation of the two forms of propolis were compared. The results showed that non-encapsulated propolis produces quicker effects, thus being better suited when more immediate effects are required (e.g., antibacterial activity). In order to gain an in-depth introspective on these effects, we further studied the synergistic effect of propolis compounds on the integrity of lipid membranes. The knowledge of component synergism is important for the understanding of effective propolis pathways and for the perspective of modes of action of synergism between different polyphenols in various extracts. Thus, five representative molecules, all previously isolated from propolis (chrysin, quercetin, trans-ferulic acid, caffeic acid, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate) were mixed, and their synergistic effects on lipid bilayers were investigated, mainly using DSC. The results showed that some compounds (quercetin, chrysin) exhibit synergism, whereas others (caffeic acid, t-ferulic acid) do not show any such effects. The results also showed that the synergistic effects of mixtures composed from several different compounds are extremely complex to study, and that their prediction requires further modeling approaches. Full article
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Review

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35 pages, 2112 KiB  
Review
Encapsulation of Polyphenolic Compounds Based on Hemicelluloses to Enhance Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and Colorectal Cancer
by Miłosz Caban and Urszula Lewandowska
Molecules 2023, 28(10), 4189; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28104189 - 19 May 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2554
Abstract
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and colorectal cancer (CRC) are difficult to cure, and available treatment is associated with troubling side effects. In addition, current therapies have limited efficacy and are characterized by high costs, and a large segment of the IBD and CRC [...] Read more.
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and colorectal cancer (CRC) are difficult to cure, and available treatment is associated with troubling side effects. In addition, current therapies have limited efficacy and are characterized by high costs, and a large segment of the IBD and CRC patients are refractive to the treatment. Moreover, presently used anti-IBD therapies in the clinics are primarily aimed on the symptomatic control. That is why new agents with therapeutic potential against IBD and CRC are required. Currently, polyphenols have received great attention in the pharmaceutical industry and in medicine due to their health-promoting properties. They may exert anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, and anti-cancer activity, via inhibiting production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and enzymes or factors associated with carcinogenesis (e.g., matrix metalloproteinases, vascular endothelial growth factor), suggesting they may have therapeutic potential against IBD and CRC. However, their use is limited under both processing conditions or gastrointestinal interactions, reducing their stability and hence their bioaccessibility and bioavailability. Therefore, there is a need for more effective carriers that could be used for encapsulation of polyphenolic compounds. In recent years, natural polysaccharides have been proposed for creating carriers used in the synthesis of polyphenol encapsulates. Among these, hemicelluloses are particularly noteworthy, being characterized by good biocompatibility, biodegradation, low immunogenicity, and pro-health activity. They may also demonstrate synergy with the polyphenol payload. This review discusses the utility and potential of hemicellulose-based encapsulations of polyphenols as support for treatment of IBD and CRC. Full article
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