Pharmaceutical research

Ultrasonication as a potential tool to predict solute crystallization in freeze-concentrates.

PMID 24398694


We hypothesize that ultrasonication can accelerate solute crystallization in freeze-concentrates. Our objective is to demonstrate ultrasonication as a potential predictive tool for evaluating physical stability of excipients in frozen solutions. The crystallization tendencies of lyoprotectants (trehalose, sucrose), carboxylic acid buffers (citric, tartaric, malic, and acetic) and an amino acid buffer (histidine HCl) were studied. Aqueous solutions of buffers, lyoprotectants and mixtures of the two were cooled from room temperature to -20°C and sonicated to induce solute crystallization. The crystallized phases were identified by X-ray diffractometry (laboratory or synchrotron source). Sonication accelerated crystallization of trehalose dihydrate in frozen trehalose solutions. Sonication also enhanced solute crystallization in tartaric (200 mM; pH 5), citric (200 mM pH 4) and malic (200 mM; pH 4) acid buffers. At lower buffer concentrations, longer annealing times following sonication were required to facilitate solute crystallization. The time for crystallization of histidine HCl progressively increased as a function of sucrose concentration. The insonation period required to effect crystallization also increased with sucrose concentration. Sonication can substantially accelerate solute crystallization in the freeze-concentrate. Ultrasonication may be useful in assessing the crystallization tendency of formulation constituents used in long term frozen storage and freeze-drying.