Emulsion gels are now emerging as a new class of biomaterials for controlled-release applications. Novel food-grade emulsion gels consisting of indomethacin-loaded vegetable oil droplets dispersed within genipin-cross-linked gelatin-based hydrogels were characterized for their physical and drug-release properties. Varying the weight ratio of the aqueous and oil phases between 5:1 and 5:5 was used to modulate construct swelling and drug release. The dispersed oil droplets generally became larger, more polydispersed and aggregated with an increase in oil fraction. Cross-linking with genipin increased the puncture strength of the gels vs. their uncross-linked counterparts and was necessary to prevent breakdown. Swelling of the emulsion gels demonstrated Fickian behaviour at all gelatin: oil ratios. Indomethacin release followed Fickian diffusion at higher oil fractions only, demonstrating coupled Fickian and super-Case-II transport at lower oil ratios (5:1, 5:2 and 5:3). Overall, the introduction of a dispersed oil phase within a hydrogel was exploited for the release of hydrophobic bioactive compounds, with tailoring of composition used to significantly alter release kinetics.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering