Thermally-induced β-lactoglobulin-EGCG nanovehicles: Loading, stability, sensory and digestive-release study

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(-)-Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which has been attributed with numerous health benefits, is an oxidation sensitive, water soluble polyphenol. We have recently shown that heat-denatured β-Lactoglobulin (β-Lg) forms nanoparticles (<50 nm) with EGCG, which confer considerable protection to EGCG against oxidative degradation, useful for clear beverage enrichment. The current study aimed at advancing our understanding by further characterizing the structure, properties and performance of this new nanodelivery system to facilitate its application. We found that although particle size increased with rising EGCG concentration, zeta potential (based on the Smoluchowski model) stayed around -40 mV up to 8:1 M EGCG:β-Lg ratio, suggesting particles are very stable in solution. Good loading efficiency (60-70%) of EGCG within β-Lg nanocomplexes was obtained. The loading efficiency was mostly dependent on β-Lg concentration. Freeze-dried nanoparticles showed an IR absorbance spectrum different from the spectra summation of the pure components, confirming the molecular level complexation. Following freeze drying, the reconstituted complexes were very similar in size to the pre-frozen ones. The nanoentrapment dramatically suppressed the bitterness and astringency of EGCG. Simulated gastric digestion of β-Lg-EGCG nanoparticles showed limited release of EGCG, suggesting they could potentially be used as vehicles for protection of EGCG in the stomach, and for its sustained release in the intestine. Our results suggest that denatured β-Lg may serve as an effective natural vehicle for nanoencapsulation, protection and sustained release of EGCG and possibly other polyphenols for clear beverage enrichment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-67
Number of pages11
JournalFood Hydrocolloids
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • (-)-Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG)
  • Delivery
  • Green tea
  • Nutraceutical
  • Simulated gastric digestion
  • β-lactoglobulin (β-Lg)

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Food Science


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