Stabilization of protein-loaded starch microgel by polyelectrolytes

Y. Li, W. Norde, J.M. Kleijn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The interaction of biocompatible polyelectrolytes (chargeable poly(amino acids)) with oxidized starch microgel particles has been studied. The aim was to form a polyelectrolyte complex layer around the outer shell of microgel particles filled with functional ingredients to slow down the release of the ingredients from the gel and make this process less sensitive to salt. First, the distribution of positively charged poly(l-lysine) (PLL) of two different molecular weights (“small”, 15–30 kDa, and “large”, 30–70 kDa) in the negatively charged gel particles was measured. The small PLL distributes homogeneously throughout the gel particles, but the large PLL forms a shell; i.e., its concentration at the outer layer of the particles was found to be much higher than in their core. This shell formation does not occur at a relatively high salt concentration (0.07 M). The large PLL was selected for further study. It was found that upon addition of PLL to lysozyme-loaded gel particles the protein is exchanged by PLL. The exchange rate increases with increasing pH, in line with the increasing electrostatic attraction between the gel and the polyelectrolyte. Therefore, it was decided to use also a negatively charged poly(amino acid), poly(l-glutamic acid) (PGA), to form together with PLL a stable polyelectrolyte complex shell around the gel particles. This approach turned out to be successful, and the PLL/PGA complex layer effectively slows down the release of lysozyme from the microgel particles at 0.05 M salt. In addition, it was found that the PLL/PGA layer protects the gel particle from degradation by a-amylase
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1545-1551
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • poly-l-lysine

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