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Int J Pharm. 2007 Mar 6;332(1-2):45-54. Epub 2006 Sep 23.

beta-carotene encapsulation in a mannitol matrix as affected by divalent cations and phosphate anion.

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  • 1Departamento de Industrias, Facultad Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, 1428 Ciudad Universitaria, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


The effects of addition of divalent cations and phosphate buffer on the degree of beta-carotene encapsulation in a mannitol matrix during freeze-drying were analyzed. The degradation rate of encapsulated beta-carotene as a function of % RH and its relationship with the physical state of the matrix during storage at 25 degrees C was also studied. The presence of phosphate salts significantly delayed mannitol crystallization at a highly satisfactory degree during freeze-drying and, consequently, the degree of beta-carotene encapsulation increased. This effect was maintained over quite long time during storage of the freeze-dried samples at 25 degrees C. Unavoidable local variations in water content during 3 years storage caused the decrease of T(g) values and made the crystallization degree to increase. The divalent cations showed a synergistic effect and also modified the kinetics of beta-carotene degradation during storage, increasing its stability. The mechanism of crystallization inhibition likely includes a change in hydrogen bond network or/and change in molecular mobility in the presence of divalent cations and phosphate anions. The degradation rate of beta-carotene in a mannitol/KH(2)PO(4) matrix increased as increasing % RH until a value at which the samples collapsed (75% RH), and then the degradation rate decreased. Collapse phenomena may affect diffusion of oxygen from the surface to the inside of the matrix and increase retention of beta-carotene. Surface color was not an appropriate indicator for beta-carotene degradation, because it was mostly dependent on the optical properties of the matrix, which changed with the degree of matrix hydration and collapse.

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