Spontaneous nano-emulsification with tailor-made amphiphilic polymers and related monomers

Accepted on: 13 March 2019
Asad Ur Rehman,a,b Mayeul Collot,c Andrey S. Klymchenko,c Salman Akram,a Bilal Mustafa,a Thierry Vandamme,a Nicolas Anton a,*

a University of Strasbourg, CNRS, CAMB UMR 7199, F-67000 Strasbourg, France
b Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) Multan, Pakistan
c University of Strasbourg, CNRS, LBP UMR 7021, F-67000 Strasbourg, France

Abstract


In general, nano-emulsions are submicron droplets composed of liquid oil phase dispersed in liquid aqueous bulk phase. They are stable and very powerful systems when it regards the encapsulation of lipophilic compounds and their dispersion in aqueous medium. On the other hand, when the properties of the nano-emulsions aim to be modified, e.g. for changing their surface properties, decorating the droplets with targeting ligands, or modifying the surface charge, the dynamic liquid / liquid interfaces make it relatively challenging. In this study, we have explored the development of nano-emulsions which were not anymore stabilized with a classical low-molecular weight surfactant, but instead, with an amphiphilic polymer based on poly(maleic anhydride-alt-1-octadecene) (PMAO) and Jeffamine®, a hydrophilic amino-terminated PPG/PEG copolymer. Using a polymer as stabilizer is a potential solution for the nano-emulsion functionalization, ensuring the droplet stabilization as well as being a platform for the droplet decoration with ligands (for instance after addition of function groups in the terminations of the chains). The main idea of the present work was to understand if the spontaneous emulsification –commonly performed with nonionic surfactants– can be transposed with amphiphilic polymers, and a secondary objective was to identify the main parameters impacting on the process. PMAO was modified with two different Jeffamine®, additionally different oils and different formulation conditions were evaluated. As a control, the parent monomer, octadecyl succinic anhydride (OSA) was also modified and studied in the similar way as that of polymer. The generated nano-emulsions were mainly studied by dynamic light scattering and electron microscopy, that allows discriminating the crucial parameters in the spontaneous process, originally conducted with polymers as only stabilizer.

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