Improved stability, epithelial permeability and cellular antioxidant activity of β-carotene via encapsulation by self-assembled α-lactalbumin micelles.


Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Food Nutrition and Human Health, Key Laboratory of Functional Dairy, College of Food Science and Nutritional Engineering, China Agricultural University, 100083, China. Electronic address: [Email]


The low aqueous solubility, stability and bioavailability of hydrophobic bioactive compounds, such as β-carotene (β-c), greatly hinder their application in foods. Nanocarriers could overcome this problem by facilitating the delivery of the functional ingredients. We prepared lactalbumin (α-lac) micelles by partial enzymatic hydrolysis in aqueous solution. β-c can be incorporated into the cores of these micelles via hydrophobic interactions. The aqueous solubility and stability under 60 °C heating or UV light irradiation of encapsulated β-c improved significantly compared with free β-c. Moreover, it had an increased cellular uptake (3 times) and transmembrane permeability (13 times) in a Caco-2 cell monolayer model. It suggested that α-lac micelle-encapsulated β-c had an enhanced cellular absorption and transport efficiency. Encapsulated β-c also exhibited an enhanced cellular anti-oxidant activity (CAA) compared with free β-c. This work demonstrates that α-lac micelles showed a great potential for delivery of hydrophobic bioactive compounds in foods.


Anti-oxidant activity,Self-assembled α-lactalbumin micelles,n-Hexane (Pubchem CID: 8058),α-Lactalbumin,β-Carotene,β-Carotene (Pubchem CID: 5280489),