School of Biological and Chemical Engineering, Guangxi University of Science and Technology, Liuzhou 545006, China; Guangxi Key Laboratory of Green Processing of Sugar Resources, Liuzhou 545006, China; Guangxi Liuzhou Luosifen Research Center of Engineering Technology, Liuzhou 545006, China. Electronic address: [Email]
An ultrasonic technique was applied to formulation of two-phase water-in-paraffin oil emulsions loading a high-molecular polysaccharide chitosan (CS) and stabilized by an oil-soluble surfactant (Span80) at different operational conditions. The influence of chitosan molecular properties, phase volume ratio (φw), Span80 volume fraction (φs) and ultrasonic processing parameters were systemically investigated on the basis of mean droplet diameter (MDD) and polydispersity index (PDI) of emulsions. It was observed that the molecular weight (Mw) of CS was an important influential factor to MDD due to the non-Newtonian properties of CS solution varying with Mw. The minimum MDD of 198.5 nm with PDI of 0.326 was obtained with ultrasonic amplitude of 32% for 15 min at an optimum φw of 35%, φs of 8%, probe position of 2.2 cm to the top of emulsion, while CS with Mw of 400 kDa and deacetylation degree of 84.6% was used. The rise of emulsion viscosity and the reduction of negative zeta potential at φw increasing from 5% to 35% were beneficial to obtain finer droplets and more uniform distribution of emulsions, and emulsion viscosity could be represented as a monotonically-decreasing power function of MDD at the same φw. FTIR analysis indicated that the molecular structure of paraffin oil was unaffected during ultrasonication. Moreover, the emulsions exhibited a good stability at 4 °C with a slight phase separation at 25 °C after 24 h of storage. By analyzing the evolution of MDD, PDI and sedimentation index (SI) with time, coalescence model showed better fitting results as comparison to Ostwald ripening model, which demonstrated that the coalescence or flocculation was the dominant destabilizing mechanism for such W/O emulsions encapsulating CS. This study may provide a valuable contribution for the application of a non-Newtonian macromolecule solution as dispersed phase to generate nano-size W/O emulsions via ultrasound, and widen knowledge and interest of such emulsions in the functional biomaterial field.