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Application note: CHITOSAN MICROCAPSULES CREATION

Over the past few decades, core-shell microcapsules have been extensively used for the delivery and release of materials in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food industries. The encapsulation of Active Pharmaceutical Compounds in core-shell microcapsules is of great interest for several purposes: taste and odor masking, controlled release of drugs… In pharmaceutics the possibility to encapsulate drugs, nutrients, and living cells that can be protected by a solid biocompatible shell in order to target a specific site is an intense field of research.

However, classical methods of microencapsulation like coacervation, spray drying, solvent evaporation, etc, require complex process and equipment and make difficult to control the size and load of the microcapsules.

In contrast, microfluidics allows to produce monodisperse double emulsions which lead to monodispersed microcapsules with a high control over both size and structure. Microfluidic tools are also used in order to create capsules of varying compositions. With this technology, it is possible to encapsulate aqueous or oily phases. The encapsulation of aqueous phases allows the capsule to contain proteins or active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). On the other hand, oily phases containing lipophilic or poorly water-soluble drugs can also be encapsulated. Moreover, capsules can be used for drug delivery or acid-triggered gastric delivery depending on the composition of the shell.

In this Application Note, chitosan-shell/oily-core microcapsules are obtained using the Raydrop® double emulsion generator, a capillary based microfluidic device. Indeed, microcapsules consisting of a chitosan shell and an oily core have been extensively studied as chitosan – a cationic polysaccharide – exhibits numerous benefits: excellent biological activity, good biocompatibility [1] and biodegradability and pH sensitivity [2] for acid-triggered gastric delivery. The method of production as well as the influence of the fluidic parameters on the size and the release from the oil across the shell are studied and presented.

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