l-ascorbic acid is an abundant water-soluble nutrient found in vegetables and fruits. It enhances the cell proliferation, which is helpful in wound healing process. However, it is relatively unstable and easily degraded under external environments including acidity, alkalinity, evaporation, heat, oxidization, light or moisture. Its storage remains challenged. This study reported the development of l-ascorbic acid microcapsules using the natural protein, gelatin, and the natural polysaccharide, agar, as the wall protection carrier. The physical properties including entrapment efficiency, particle size, surface morphology, chemical compositions and release profile were identified. The cell proliferation of l-ascorbic acid microcapsules was stronger than the free drug. Significant cell growth in microencapsulated l-ascorbic acid-treated human epithelial HaCaT cells was observed when compared with untreated control. Since cell proliferation and wound repair are closely related, it is believed that l-ascorbic acid microcapsules would effectively increase the potential effect of wound healing activity in human skin.
Keywords: Cell culture; controlled release; gelatin; microencapsulation.