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Iron cross-linked carboxymethyl cellulose–gelatin complex coacervate beads for sustained drug delivery

Gwendolen Ong Sze Huei, Saravanan Muniyandy, Thenapakiam Sathasivam, Anand Kumar Veeramachineni, and Pushpamalar Janarthanan

School of Pharmacy, Monash University Malaysia, Jalan Lagoon Selatan, 46150 Bandar Sunway, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia



Abstract: The formation and smooth recovery of ibuprofen encapsulated in microcapsules using gelatin and carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) complex coacervation without glutaraldehyde were the objectives of this investigation. The microcapsules were recovered as ionically cross-linked beads using aqueous ferric chloride in 50 vol. % of 2-propanol. A physical mixture of CMC/gelatin (FP1) and CMC alone (FP2) beads was also prepared for comparison. The drug-entrapment efficiency of complex coacervate beads (FP3-FP5) was dependent on the drug-to-polymer ratio and was in the range of 86-92 mass %. Beads prepared with the highest ratio of the drug (FP5) exhibited the lowest entrapment. FP1 and FP2 beads exhibited an entrapment efficiency of 98.5 mass % and 91.3 mass %, respectively. Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) revealed different functional groups in complex coacervate, physical mixture and FP2 beads. Optical and scanning electron microscopy revealed the distinct appearance and surface morphology of the various beads. The stable and crystalline nature of ibuprofen in the beads was confirmed by FTIR and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), respectively. Ibuprofen release from FP1 and FP2 beads was very slow and unsuitable for oral delivery. The bead prepared by complex coacervation (FP5) showed a better release profile over 48 h and could be developed as a sustained drug delivery system.

Keywords: complex coacervation – sustained release – beads – ibuprofen – gelatin – carboxymethyl cellulose – ionic gelation

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1515/chempap-2015-0197


Chemical Papers 70 (2) 243–252 (2016)

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