Liposomes as delivery systems for carotenoids: comparative studies of loading ability, storage stability and in vitro release
This study compared the loading ability of various carotenoids into liposomal membrane, lipid peroxidation inhibition capacity, storage stability and in vitro release behavior in simulated gastrointestinal (GI) media. It was found that carotenoids exhibited various incorporating abilities into liposomes ranging from the strongest to the weakest: lutein > β-carotene > lycopene > canthaxanthin. A similar trend was also observed in their antioxidant activities against lipid peroxidation during preparation. Storage measurements demonstrated that a liposomal membrane can strongly retain β-carotene and lutein, whereas this effect was not pronounced for lycopene and canthaxanthin. In vitro release experiments showed that lutein and β-carotene were hardly released in a simulated gastric fluid, while displaying a slow and sustained release in a simulated intestinal fluid. By contrast, lycopene and canthaxanthin underwent fast and considerable release in GI media. Dynamic light scattering indicated that carotenoid incorporation strongly affected the particle stability and dispersion during preparation and GI incubation. The differences in molecular release may be attributed to the different modulating effects of carotenoids. Our results may guide the potential application of liposomes as carriers for the controlled delivery of carotenoids in nutraceutical and functional foods.