Amphiphilic zein hydrolysate as a novel nano-delivery vehicle for curcumin
In this paper, we developed amphiphilic zein hydrolysate (ZH) as a novel delivery vehicle, which could be used for preparing curcumin (Cur) nanocomplexes. These ZH–Cur nanocomplexes exhibited spherical morphology with a monodisperse size distribution (<50 nm), and the dispersion was transparent, which could have a great application potential in nutraceutical-fortified food and clear beverages. The water solubility of curcumin was considerably enhanced by the nanocomplexation above 8200-fold (vs. free curcumin in water). The good colloidal and storage stability of ZH–Cur nanocomplexes was greatly improved, and more than 60% of curcumin was retained in 72 h storage under ambient conditions. These phenomena appeared to be attributable to the fact that amphiphilic ZH displayed self-assembly properties in water solution and strong interfacial activity at the oil–water interface, as confirmed by micelle formation and dynamic interfacial adsorption respectively. Fluorescence titration and FTIR results indicated the existence of strong hydrophobic interactions between ZH and Cur, which was responsible for the complexation.