Effect of the shell-forming polymer ratio on the encapsulation of tea tree oil by complex coacervation as a natural biocide

J Microencapsul. 2014;31(2):176-83. doi: 10.3109/02652048.2013.824512. Epub 2013 Aug 13.


The aim of this study was to develop footwear materials with antimicrobial properties using microencapsulated Tea Tree oil (TTO) as a natural biocide. For that purpose, gelatine-carboxymethylcellulose based microcapsules containing TTO were synthesised by a complex coacervation process. Furthermore, the influence of the gelatine (G)/sodium carboxymethylmethyl cellulose (CMC) ratio (G/C) on the microcapsule properties, as well as in the microencapsulation oil efficiency, was evaluated. The microcapsules were characterised by different experimental techniques and applied to footwear materials (leather and textile) to evaluate their performance. The microcapsule durability under different conditions, such as rubbing and ironing, was analysed in order to simulate shoe manufacturing and shoe wearing. The properties of the microcapsules obtained by complex coacervation, using gelatine and sodium carboxymethylcellulose as shell-forming polymers, are determined by the ratio between those two polymers (G/C). The results obtained showed a notable effect of G/C ratio on the formation of the coacervate during the synthesis process and also on the encapsulation efficiency of the antimicrobial oil, with the optimal value for the G/C ratio being around 10.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / chemistry*
  • Capsules / chemistry
  • Carboxymethylcellulose Sodium / chemistry*
  • Tea Tree Oil / chemistry*


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Capsules
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Carboxymethylcellulose Sodium