The rheology of oil-in-water (O/W) droplet interfaces stabilized by food-grade emulsifiers (soy lecithin or Tween 20) under controlled aqueous conditions was investigated to elucidate its contribution in the kinetic stabilization of nanoemulsion-based delivery systems containing carvacrol, a naturally-derived antimicrobial compound. Dilational rheology of surfactant-laden O/W interfaces was measured using axisymmetric drop shape analysis. The kinetic stability of corresponding nanoemulsions (containing mixtures of carvacrol and medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil dispersed in water (pH 7)) was characterized using dynamic light scattering. Zwitterionic lecithin molecules adsorbed to the O/W interface for 24 h formed a notably viscoelastic layer, compared to nonionic Tween 20 molecules. The kinetic stability within the first 24 h for each nanoemulsion was strongly dependent upon encapsulated carvacrol concentration, with higher carvacrol concentrations leading to lower kinetic stability. Lecithin-stabilized nanoemulsions (pH 7) were highly stable, yielding monodispersed droplet size distributions and high resistance to increases in droplet size over 30 days. Contrarily, corresponding Tween 20-stabilized nanoemulsions showed large increases in the droplet size and developed a bimodal droplet size distribution over time. The initial size of oil droplets stabilized by lecithin was slightly dependent on pH, yielding smaller droplets at pH 7 and larger droplets at pH 3; however, the extended kinetic stability was not greatly impacted by pH modulation. Determining a positive association between interfacial viscoelasticity and nanoemulsion stability may potentially be very useful for food manufacturers seeking to optimize the encapsulation and delivery of lipophilic antimicrobial molecules using food-grade emulsifiers.


This is the author's accepted manuscript version of Nash, Jerome & Erk, Kendra. (2016). Stability and Interfacial Viscoelasticity of Oil-Water Nanoemulsions Stabilized by Soy Lecithin and Tween 20 for the Encapsulation of Bioactive Carvacrol. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects. 517. 10.1016/j.colsurfa.2016.12.056.


Lecithin, Nanoemulsions, Viscoelasticity, Dilational, Antimicrobial, Interfacial rheometry

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