Foods, Vol. 12, Pages 2076: Formation, Structural Characterization, and Functional Properties of Corn Starch/Zeaxanthin Composites

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Foods, Vol. 12, Pages 2076: Formation, Structural Characterization, and Functional Properties of Corn Starch/Zeaxanthin Composites

Foods doi: 10.3390/foods12102076

Authors:
Songnan Li
Duo Feng
Enpeng Li
Robert G. Gilbert

Zeaxanthin is a natural xanthophyll carotenoid and the main macular pigment that protects the macula from light-initiated oxidative damage, but it has poor stability and low bioavailability. Absorption of this active ingredient into starch granules as a carrier can be used to improve both zeaxanthin stability and controlled release. Optimization using three variables judged important for optimizing the system (reaction temperature of 65 °C, starch concentration of 6%, and reaction time of 2 h) was conducted for incorporation of zeaxanthin into corn starch granules, aiming for high zeaxanthin content (2.47 mg/g) and high encapsulation efficiency (74%). Polarized-light microscopy, X-ray diffraction, differential scanning calorimetry, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy showed that the process partially gelatinized corn starch; additionally, it showed the presence of corn starch/zeaxanthin composites, with the zeaxanthin successfully trapped in corn starch granules. The half-life time of zeaxanthin in corn starch/zeaxanthin composites increased to 43 days as compared with that of zeaxanthin alone (13 days). The composites show a rapid increase in zeaxanthin release with in vitro intestinal digestion, which is favorable for possible use in living systems. These findings could have application in designing effective starch-based carriers of this bioactive ingredient with enhanced storage stability and improved intestines-targeted controlled-release delivery.

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