Alginate-whey protein dry powder optimized for target delivery of essential oils to the intestine of chickens.

Zhang, Y., Gong, J., Yu, H., Guo, Q., Defelice, C., Hernandez, M., Yin, Y.L., and Wang, Q. (2014). "Alginate-whey protein dry powder optimized for target delivery of essential oils to the intestine of chickens.", Poultry Science, 93(10), pp. 2514-2525. doi : 10.3382/ps.2013-03843  Access to full text


In poultry production, there is a lack of effective and convenient approaches to deliver bioactive compounds such as some essential oils, which have been proposed as alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters. The objective of this research was to develop a method for target delivery of essential oils in feed to the lower intestines of chickens. Carvacrol was used as a model essential oil, and 2 food-grade biopolymers, alginate and whey protein, were selected to encapsulate carvacrol in microparticles. The effects of a medium molecular weight alginate, a low molecular weight alginate (LBA), and whey protein concentrations on the properties of carvacrol-loaded microparticles were investigated using response surface methodology. The encapsulation efficiencies for all the tested formulations were ≥98% and carvacrol content in the dry microparticles was 72 ± 2% (wt/wt). The microparticles showed good gastric resistance and rapid intestinal release under simulated gastrointestinal conditions. Alginate concentrations had the strongest influence on the gastric resistance of microparticles, whereas whey protein was the dominant parameter in controlling the intestinal release. The concentration of LBA was found to be the critical factor affecting the mechanical strength of the microparticles. A predicted optimum formulation from in vitro optimization was tested in chickens. It was found that a negligible amount of carvacrol was detected in the intestines of chickens fed with unencapsulated carvacrol. Microparticles of predicted optimum formulation delivered a remarkably higher concentration of carvacrol to the jejunum and ileum regions. The high concentration was sustained for more than 3 h after oral administration. The in vivo release of carvacrol from the microparticles appeared faster than release from in vitro simulation. Nonetheless, the in vitro simulation provided good indications of the in vivo performance, and thus may serve as a useful tool for formula optimization. In conclusion, the current study indicates that alginate-whey protein microparticles could be used as a target delivery carrier in the feed to enhance the intestinal delivery of essential oils in poultry production.

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