Chitosan-olive oil microparticles for phenylethyl isothiocyanate delivery: optimal formulation

Ezequiel R. Coscueta*, Ana Sofia Sousa, Celso A. Reis, Manuela Pintado

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Phenylethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), a chemopreventive compound, is highly reactive due to its considerably electrophilic nature. Furthermore, it is hydrophobic and has low stability, bioavailability and bioaccessibility. This restricts its use in biomedical and nutraceutical or food applications. Thus, the encapsulation of this agent has the function of overcoming these limitations, promoting its solubility in water, and stabilizing it, preserving its bioactivity. So, polymeric microparticles were developed using chitosan-olive oil-PEITC systems. For this, an optimisation process (factors: olive oil: chitosan ratio and PEITC: chitosan ratio) was implemented through a 3-level factorial experimental design. The responses were: the particle size, zeta-potential, polydisperse index, and entrapment efficiency. The optimal formulation was further characterised by FTIR and biocompatibility in Caco-2 cells. Optimal conditions were olive oil: chitosan and PEITC: chitosan ratios of 1.46 and 0.25, respectively. These microparticles had a size of 629 nm, a zeta-potential of 32.3 mV, a polydispersity index of 0.329, and entrapment efficiency of 98.49%. We found that the inclusion process affected the optical behaviour of the PEITC, as well as the microparticles themselves and their interaction with the medium. Furthermore, the microparticles did not show cytotoxicity within the therapeutic values of PEITC. Thus, PEITC was microencapsulated with characteristics suitable for potential biomedical, nutraceutical and food applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0248257
Number of pages19
JournalPLoS one
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


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