Journal of colloid and interface science

Formation of curcumin nanoparticles by flash nanoprecipitation from emulsions.

PMID 25168584


Nanometric particles of a model hydrophobic substance curcumin were prepared by a novel method, namely, flash nanoprecipitation from a coarse oil-in-water emulsion. The method employs turbulent co-mixing of water with curcumin-loaded emulsion using manually-operated confined impingement jets mixer. A clear and stable dispersion of nanoparticles was formed in this process, and could be converted to dry, easily water-dispersible powder by spray drying. The mean size of the particles was about 40 nm by DLS, confirmed by Cryo-TEM. The obtained particles contained 20.4 wt% curcumin, X-ray analysis showed it was amorphous. The significant advantages of the studied process are its feasibility, speed and low cost. It does not require any special high-energy input equipment to reduce the droplet size of the initial emulsion as required by the vast majority of other methods, and relies on rapid turbulent mixing and on flow-induced shear stress formed in the simple, manually-operated mixer. Control experiments clearly indicate that employing emulsion, instead of a plain solution and flash nanoprecipitation instead of a simple antisolvent precipitation are advantageous in terms of particle size and stability.