Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Engineering Science (Interdepartmental Program)

Document Type



Nanodelivery systems enable innovations that can benefit foods and human health on a large scale in the coming years. The instabilities of antioxidants during food processing and during digestion are drawbacks that can be successfully addressed by nanoentrapment. This research provided technical strategies to synthesize zein nanoparticles loaded with hydrophobic/hydrophilic antioxidants, and to study the release profiles and physical stability of nanocarriers and chemical stability of entrapped bioactives under on-shelf and GI conditions. The results supported the potential of zein nanoparticles stabilized by surfactants to improve chemical stability of entrapped lutein, and to slowly release lutein under PBS conditions. Same particles enhanced functionality by means of protecting antioxidant activity of entrapped -carotene in the presence of milk as food matrix under simulated gastrointestinal environments. Lastly, folic acid modified zein nanoparticles sustained the release of folic acid, showed a good biocompatibility, and diminished the toxic effect of folic acid on cells. The increased uptake, particularly by the over-expressing folate-receptor cells indicated that zein nanoparticles can be developed into versatile targeted delivery systems. These findings strongly support the ability of zein nanoparticles to act as effective antioxidant nanodelivery systems for innovative applications in the food and pharmaceutical industries.



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Committee Chair

Sabliov, Cristina M.