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Spray dried calcium gelled arabinoxylan microspheres: A novel carrier for extended drug delivery

Cheah Jue Lee, Chew Sin Nah, Chin Siew Teng, Wee Wen Jun, and Muniyandy Saravanan

School of Pharmacy, Monash University, Bandar Sunway, Selangor, Malaysia 45160



Abstract: Arabinoxylan (AX) microspheres were formulated by ionotropic gelation for extended drug delivery. AX from Plantago ovata was tested for gelation with aluminium, barium, calcium, magnesium, and iron(III) chloride. Only calcium was found to lead to weak gelation with AX. The conventional needle extrusion produced fragile AX beads with calcium and hence the spray drying process was adopted for the preparation of metronidazole hydrochloride (MH) loaded AX microspheres. MH loading in AX microspheres was 30.8 mass %, 31.9 mass %, and 29.3 mass % in formulations gelled with 0.05 g, 0.1 g, and 0.15 g of calcium chloride per 100 mL of solution, respectively. Scanning electron microscopy revealed the crystallinity reduction of MH in microspheres. The surface of drug loaded calcium gelled AX microsphere was rougher than that of an ungelled one. Interactions of calcium with AX and the amorphous nature of the drug in the microspheres were evidenced by infrared spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction studies. Calcium-induced gelation can extend the drug release to over 90 min in 0.1 M HCl despite the hydrophilic nature of AX and the high solubility of metronidazole.

Keywords: alkaline extracted ispaghula husk – arabinoxylan – gelation – microspheres – extendedrelease – spray drying

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1515/chempap-2015-0135


Chemical Papers 69 (10) 1325–1330 (2015)

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