The new review, published in Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies, suggests that nano-structured lipid carriers (NLC) can fulfil the requirements of the food industry to deliver biologically active nutrients in a wide range of products.
As such, the Iranian researchers suggest that NLCs may be an alternative to other nano-carriers or colloidal systems.
Led by Fardin Tamjidi from the Isfahan University of Technology, the team explained that that NLCs are made up of partial-crystallised, nano-scale, lipid particles that are dispersed in an aqueous phase containing emulsifiers.
"Nanostructured lipid carriers (NLC) are a carrier system with which the requirements of food science and technology can be fulfilled," said the authors. "They may combine the advantages of different colloidal drug delivery systems and avoid some of their disadvantages."
Tamjidi and his team added that NLC are especially promising as a delivery system in situations when the bioactive nutrient in question has poor solubility in water because the NLC may increase their stability and bioavailability.
"NLC are a useful nutraceutical delivery system with high drug loading, encapsulation efficiency and stability," the team added - noting that the nano-structured delivery system does not only increase the bioavailability and stability of bioactive compounds, but also has benefits for shelf-life, consumer acceptability, functionality, nutritional value and safety of food systems.
The team noted that nano-delivery systems are 'valuable prospects' for many industries - not least the pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and food industries.
In their new publication, Tamjidi and his team review the ingredients and production methods used to create NLCs , structure and characteristics of them provided. Moreover, potential applications and disadvantages of NLC as emerging delivery system in food science are introduced.
The team suggested that using NLCs can 'dispel the disadvantages' of other lipid nano-carriers - which include issues relating to low encapsulation efficiency, low drug loading and physicochemical instability.
"Moreover, control of release is feasible by NLC system," they added - noting that release can be controlled over a sustained time and can also be designed to be delayed for time or location dependant release.
"Burst release can also be achieved by controlling the physical state of core lipid; this is valuable for increasing flavour release in fast foods and ready-meals during heating and consumption," the team explained.
"Foodstuffs containing bioactive-loaded NLC can be regarded as possible health-promoting nutraceutical ones," they added.
The team said NLCs also have high loading capacity and noted that their ingredients can be selected from low-cost food-grade and GRAS materials.
Source: Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies
Volume 19, July 2013, Pages 29–43, doi: 10.1016/j.ifset.2013.03.002
"Nanostructured lipid carriers (NLC): A potential delivery system for bioactive food molecules"
Authors: Fardin Tamjidi, Mohammad Shahedi, Jaleh Varshosaz, Ali Nasirpour