Microencapsulation by solvent extraction/evaporation: reviewing the state of the art of microsphere preparation process technology

J Control Release. 2005 Feb 2;102(2):313-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2004.10.015.


The therapeutic benefit of microencapsulated drugs and vaccines brought forth the need to prepare such particles in larger quantities and in sufficient quality suitable for clinical trials and commercialisation. Very commonly, microencapsulation processes are based on the principle of so-called "solvent extraction/evaporation". While initial lab-scale experiments are frequently performed in simple beaker/stirrer setups, clinical trials and market introduction require more sophisticated technologies, allowing for economic, robust, well-controllable and aseptic production of microspheres. To this aim, various technologies have been examined for microsphere preparation, among them are static mixing, extrusion through needles, membranes and microfabricated microchannel devices, dripping using electrostatic forces and ultrasonic jet excitation. This article reviews the current state of the art in solvent extraction/evaporation-based microencapsulation technologies. Its focus is on process-related aspects, as described in the scientific and patent literature. Our findings will be outlined according to the four major substeps of microsphere preparation by solvent extraction/evaporation, namely, (i) incorporation of the bioactive compound, (ii) formation of the microdroplets, (iii) solvent removal and (iv) harvesting and drying the particles. Both, well-established and more advanced technologies will be reviewed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Drug Compounding / methods*
  • Humans
  • Microspheres*
  • Solvents
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / trends*


  • Solvents