Production and evaluation of dry alginate-chitosan microcapsules as an enteric delivery vehicle for probiotic bacteria
Cook, Michael T.
Khutoryanskiy, Vitaliy V.
This study investigates the production of alginate microcapsules, which have been coated with the polysaccharide chitosan, and evaluates some of their properties with the intention of improving the gastrointestinal viability of a probiotic (Bifidobacterium breve) by encapsulation in this system. The microcapsules were dried by a variety of methods, and the most suitable was chosen. The work described in this Article is the first report detailing the effects of drying on the properties of these microcapsules and the viability of the bacteria within relative to wet microcapsules. The pH range over which chitosan and alginate form polyelectrolyte complexes was explored by spectrophotometry, and this extended into swelling studies on the microcapsules over a range of pHs associated with the gastrointestinal tract. It was shown that chitosan stabilizes the alginate microcapsules at pHs above 3, extending the stability of the capsules under these conditions. The effect of chitosan exposure time on the coating thickness was investigated for the first time by confocal laser scanning microscopy, and its penetration into the alginate matrix was shown to be particularly slow. Coating with chitosan was found to increase the survival of B. breve in simulated gastric fluid as well as prolong its release upon exposure to intestinal pH.