Project Title
Nanoentrapment and controlled release of bioactive compounds to improve food quality and human health
Project Type
Nacional / Public
Funding Body
Funding Program
  • CEB: 45 120,00
  • Total: 196 527,00
Universidade do Minho, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnológica, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Aveiro
External link

Principal Investigator


In face of increasing concerns about all aspects of food quality, including potential beneficial health effects, the main target of the present proposal is to include the use of novel technologies, namely micro and nano technologies, in the development of innovative/ conventional improved food processes/products. Mechanisms of entrapment/delivery/bioavailability of bioactive compounds presenting potential beneficial effects on food commodities/consumer health (improvement of preservation ability, sensory properties, bioavailability) will be studied. As entrapping basis it will be used: carbohydrates (starch spherules from small granules, starch of enhanced porosity and inulin), gelatin and chitosan compared with the conventional encapsulation in arabic gum. For the preparation of films or coatings, chitosan with or without galactomannan addition, whey proteins and gelatine will be studied. As bioactive compounds it will be considered the use of aromatic plants extracts such as essential oils or those obtained by supercritical fluids extraction, as well as extracts from by-products and residues (lycopen, carotenoids, polyphenols and oleuropein) and bacteriocins, bioactive peptides, structured lipids and prebiotic substances (inulins from different sources and different DP and FOS). In fact inulin will be studied from two points of view: as matrix and bioactive. The micro/nano entrapment will be obtained by atomisation and enclosure on edible films or coatings. The retention/releasing mechanisms would subsequently be studied and models of behaviour will be proposed as a fundamental result of this project. This will be carried out by the use of analytical techniques such as: dynamic rheology, SEM, ATM, X-ray diffraction, laser beam diffraction, FTIR, NIR, RMN, GS-MS, DSC and HPLC. Aiming the clarification of bioavailability and effective action of the entrapped substances, modified by the nature of the encapsulation and interaction with the food matrix, the encapsulates will be added to different food products. Since it is now well known that the bioavailability of the bioactive compounds is affected by the encapsulation format, this important parameter will be evaluated by in vitro and in vivo methods, taking into consideration the respective ethical issues involved, when human cells are to be used.