Interfacial properties of lipid sponge-like nanoparticles and the role of stabilizer on particle structure and surface interactions
The advantage of using nonlamellar lipid liquid crystalline phases has been demonstrated in many applications, such as drug delivery, protein encapsulation and crystallisation. We have recently reported that a mixture of mono- and diglycerides is able to form sponge-like nanoparticles (L3-NPs) with large enough aqueous pores to encapsulate macromolecules such as proteins. Here we use small angle neutron scattering (SANS) to reveal morphology, structural and chemical composition of these polysorbate 80 (P80) stabilized sponge phase nanoparticles, not previously known. Our results suggest that L3-NPs have a core–shell sphere structure, with a shell rich in P80. It was also found that even if P80 is mostly located on the surface, it also contributes to the formation of the inner sponge phase structure. An important aspect for the application and colloidal stability of these particles is their interfacial properties. Therefore, the interfacial behaviour of the nanoparticles on hydrophilic silica was revealed by Quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D) and neutron reflectivity (NR). Adsorption experiments reveal the formation of a thin lipid layer, with the dimension corresponding to a lipid bilayer after L3-NPs are in contact with hydrophilic silica. This suggests that the diglycerol monoleate/Capmul GMO-50/P80 particles reorganize themselves on this surface, probably due to interactions between P80 head group and SiO2.