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Formulation of a Cosurfactant-Free O/W Microemulsion Using Nonionic Surfactant Mixtures

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A cosurfactant-free O/W microemulsion composed of oil, a mixture of hydrophilic and hydrophobic surfactants, and water has been developed using food-grade components as a nutrient delivery system. We started our investigation to monitor the phase behavior of this system based on a hydrophilic surfactant (Tween 80). From a phase diagram, the weight ratio of 5.4:33.8:60.8 = oil:surfactant:water was selected as a combination ratio for the O/W microemulsion system. We also investigated the combination effect of different hydrophobic surfactants to Tween 80 on microemulsion formation. Use of hydrophobic surfactants with Tween 80 produced smaller droplets than Tween 80 alone. Rheological studies showed that all microemulsions followed shear-thinning behavior. The turbidity of microemulsions did not change after accelerated stability tests, indicating that this microemulsion system was stable under the given harsh conditions. When docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) oil was applied to this microemulsion system, the particle size and the turbidity were not significantly changed. Dilution with a different aqueous medium, either water or acidic fluid, did not significantly change the microemulsion turbidity. DHA oil incorporated in microemulsion showed higher oxidation stability than free DHA oil.
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Keywords: DHA oil; cosurfactant-free O/W microemulsion; food-grade components; nutrient delivery system; phase diagram

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2008

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