Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Zein-based carriers for bioactive compounds

People in developed as well as developing countries have issues with low consumption of iron and plant polyphenols. A major issue is the high reactivity of these compounds with other foods, thus limiting their bioavailability and activity.
Zein-based carriers for bioactive compounds
EU funded researchers worked on developing nanoscale delivery systems to deliver nutritive bioactive compounds and ensure maximum bioaccessibility.

Zein is a prolamine protein found in maize that is water-insoluble and can form complex nanostructures to encapsulate different types of compounds. During the INBODY (Composite nanoscale delivery systems for optimal in body and in product behavior) project, researchers worked to develop efficient zein-based complex colloidal delivery systems. The goal was to ensure product protection while enhancing digestion rate as well as the bioaccessibility of the payload. The payload, in this case, is iron and polyphenols such as curcumin.

INBODY researchers made significant progress in their exploration of zein-based particles as carriers for different kinds of payloads. They worked on extraction, encapsulation and delivery of soluble forms of iron and water soluble polyphenols like epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). They also placed emphasis on optimising zein particle production, particle stability and encapsulation efficiency through testing on five different bioactive phenolic compounds.

Project members' attempt to use zein particles to encapsulate EGCG met with particular success. Use of sodium caseinate improved encapsulation efficiency as the zein complexes formed structured core-shell particles. EGCG was mainly localised on the particle outer layer, thus improving bioaccessibility and activity. A major advantage, this zein-based delivery system for EGCG could prove to be a good additive for modulating fat digestion rate.

Researchers also developed composite colloidal particles using zein and ethylcellulose. This allowed more efficient encapsulation of the polyphenols curcumin and iron.

Project activities have significantly advanced our knowledge on assembly of zein-based particles systems and the optimal conditions for payload delivery. This should ultimately aid in improving food functionalisation and fortification and reduce the occurrence of nutritive deficits in the population.

Related information


Zein, bioactive, iron, polyphenol, nanoscale, delivery system, curcumin, EGCG
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top