Development of highly stabilized curcumin nanoparticles by flash nanoprecipitation and lyophilization

Shing Fung Chow, Ka Yee Wan, Kwok Kin Cheng, Ka Wai Wong, Changquan Calvin Sun, Larry Baum, Albert Hee Lum Chow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


The influence of critical operating parameters on the Flash Nanoprecipitation (FNP) and resulting material properties of curcumin (CUR) nanoparticles has been evaluated using a confined impinging jets-with-dilution mixer (CIJ-D-M). It has been shown that the mixing rate, molecular weight of polymeric stabilizer (i.e., polyethylene glycol-b-poly(dl-lactide) di-block copolymer; PEG-PLA) and drug-to-copolymer mass ratio all exert a significant impact on the particle size and stability of the generated nanosuspensions. The attainable mean particle size and span of the nanoparticles through optimization of these process parameters were approximately 70 nm and 0.85 respectively. However, the optimized nanosuspension was only stable for about two hours after preparation. Co-formulation with polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) substantially extended the product lifespan to 5 days at ambient conditions and two weeks at 4 °C. Results from zeta potential measurement and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) suggested that the enhanced stability is probably due to the formation of an additional protective barrier by PVP around the particle surface, thereby suppressing the dissociation of PEG-PLA from the particles and preventing CUR leakage from inside. Long-term storage stability (>1 year) could be achieved by lyophilization of the optimized nanosuspension with Kleptose (hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin), which was shown to be the only effective lyoprotectant among all the ones tested for the CUR nanoparticles. At an optimal concentration of Kleptose (1.25% w/v), the redispersibility (Sf/Si; ratio of the final and initial particle sizes) and encapsulation efficiency of lyophilized CUR nanoparticles were about 1.22% and 94%, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)436-449
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics
StatePublished - Jul 11 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support from the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Fund ( ITS/306/09 ) of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and The Chinese University of Hong Kong (postgraduate studentships for SFC, KYW and KKC) is gratefully acknowledged. The authors would also like to thank Prof. Christopher W. Macosko (Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Minnesota) for his kind assistance with the refabrication of a CIJ-D-M at CUHK for the present study and his suggestions regarding data interpretation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Co-stabilizer
  • Confined impinging jets-with-dilution mixer
  • Curcumin nanoparticles
  • Flash nanoprecipitation
  • Lyophilization
  • Stability
  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy


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