Bioinspired Eggosomes with Dual Stimuli-Responsiveness

ACS Appl Bio Mater. 2021 Nov 15;4(11):7825-7835. doi: 10.1021/acsabm.1c00765. Epub 2021 Oct 11.

Abstract

Hen's eggs have been designed through evolution to serve as a rich source of nutrients and to provide a protective environment for the developing embryo. As such, they have a unique composition and structural organization, consisting of an egg yolk, egg white, and eggshell. Inspired by nature, a biomimetic approach has been adopted in this study to create "micro-eggs" using the natural structure of hen's eggs as an inspiration. Our aim was to use these micro-eggs to encapsulate, protect, and release nutrients so they could be incorporated into functional foods to improve their nutritional value. These micro-eggs consist of an oily core surrounded by a protein-rich gel, which is then coated by a hard calcium carbonate (CaCO3) shell. Advanced emulsion technology and structural design principles were utilized to create these microscale egg-like structures (50-200 μm). In particular, a water-in-oil-in-water (W/O/W) double emulsion was formulated using natural materials found in eggs (lecithin, oleic acid, and albumin) to create the egg yolk/egg white structure. Then, a CaCO3 "eggshell" was fabricated in situ to stabilize the outer oil-water interface. The resulting micro-eggs were then successfully packaged into an "egg box" formed by calcium alginate. The packaged micro-eggs were shown to have good resistance to disruption or separation during storage. The thermo- and pH-responsive "egg yolk" was provided bioactive release "on-demand". We refer to these biomimetic micro-eggs as "eggosomes" in analogy to colloidosomes. The nutritionally fortified eggosomes developed here may be useful for the creation of functional foods specifically designed to improve human health and wellbeing.

Keywords: biomimetics; emulsions; functional foods; micro-egg; nanotechnology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / analysis
  • Animals
  • Chickens*
  • Egg Yolk / chemistry
  • Eggs*
  • Emulsions / analysis
  • Female
  • Oils / analysis
  • Water / analysis

Substances

  • Allergens
  • Emulsions
  • Oils
  • Water