Biocompatible microemulsions composed of Peceol(®), lecithin, ethanol and water developed for encapsulation of hydrophilic drugs were investigated. The binary mixture Peceol(®)/ethanol was studied first. It was shown that the addition of ethanol to pure Peceol(®) has a significant fluidifying and disordering effect on the Peceol(®) supramolecular structure with an enhancement in water solubilization. The water solubilization capacity was improved by adding lecithin as a third component. It was then demonstrated that the ethanol/lecithin weight ratio played an important role in determining the optimal composition in term of water solubilization efficiency, a necessary property for a nutraceutical or pharmaceutical application. The optimal ethanol/lecithin weight ratio in the Peceol(®) rich region was found to be 40/60. Combination different techniques such as SAXS, fluorimetry, rheology and conductivity, we analyzed the water uptake within the microemulsion taking into account the partitioning of ethanol between polar and apolar domains. This ethanol distribution quantified along a water dilution line has a major effect on microemulsion properties.
Keywords: Ethanol partitioning; Microemulsion; Peceol(®); Phase diagram; Water solubilization capacity.
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