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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2009 Jun;49(6):577-606. doi: 10.1080/10408390902841529.

Structural design principles for delivery of bioactive components in nutraceuticals and functional foods.

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  • 1Department of Food Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.


There have been major advances in the design and fabrication of structured delivery systems for the encapsulation of nutraceutical and functional food components. A wide variety of delivery systems is now available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages for particular applications. This review begins by discussing some of the major nutraceutical and functional food components that need to be delivered and highlights the main limitations to their current utilization within the food industry. It then discusses the principles underpinning the rational design of structured delivery systems: the structural characteristics of the building blocks; the nature of the forces holding these building blocks together; and, the different ways of assembling these building blocks into structured delivery systems. Finally, we review the major types of structured delivery systems that are currently available to food scientists: lipid-based (simple, multiple, multilayer, and solid lipid particle emulsions); surfactant-based (simple micelles, mixed micelles, vesicles, and microemulsions) and biopolymer-based (soluble complexes, coacervates, hydrogel droplets, and particles). For each type of delivery system we describe its preparation, properties, advantages, and limitations.

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