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Viability of plant spore exine capsules for microencapsulation

Barrier, Sylvain; Diego-Taboada, Alberto; Thomasson, Matthew J.; Madden, Leigh; Diego Taboada, Alberto; Wadhawan, Jay; Pointon, Joanna C.; Wadhawan, Jay D.; Beckett, Stephen T.; Atkin, Stephen L.; Mackenzie, Grahame


Sylvain Barrier

Alberto Diego-Taboada

Matthew J. Thomasson

Alberto Diego Taboada

Joanna C. Pointon

Stephen T. Beckett

Stephen L. Atkin

Grahame Mackenzie


Sporopollenin exine capsules (SECs) (outer exoskeletal wall of the spores of Lycopodium clavatum) were extracted and examined for their potential use as microcapsules. They were shown, by laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM), to be void of their inner contents. The removal of nitrogenous and other internal materials was supported by a combination of elemental and gravimetric analyses. Two different methods were investigated to encapsulate substances into SECs which were (i) mild passive migration of materials into the SECs and (ii) subjecting SECs and materials to a vacuum. A range of fluorescent dyes with different polarities were seen using LSCM to encapsulate efficiently into the SECs (up to 1 g. g(-1)). Relatively unstable materials with different polarities were encapsulated into the SECs: polyunsaturated oils, which are labile to oxidation, and the enzymes streptavidin-horseradish peroxidase (sHRP) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP). Irrespective of the encapsulation techniques employed no oxidation of the oils or denaturation of the enzymes was observed following their full recovery. This study gives the first indication of the viability of SECs to microencapsulate various potentially unstable materials without causing a detrimental effect.


Barrier, S., Diego-Taboada, A., Thomasson, M. J., Madden, L., Pointon, J. C., Wadhawan, J. D., …Mackenzie, G. (2011). Viability of plant spore exine capsules for microencapsulation. Journal of Materials Chemistry, 21(4), 975-981.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 7, 2010
Online Publication Date Nov 12, 2010
Publication Date Jan 28, 2011
Print ISSN 0959-9428
Electronic ISSN 1364-5501
Publisher Royal Society of Chemistry
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue 4
Pages 975-981
Keywords alkaline-phosphatase gymnosperm pollen drug-delivery sporopollenin encapsulation enzyme acid coli
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