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Spray Dried Smectite Clay Particles as a Novel Treatment against Obesity



To explore the feasibility of spray dried smectite clay particles fabricated from montmorillonite or laponite materials for adsorbing dietary lipids and reducing rodent weight gain in vivo.


Spray dried montmorillonite (SD-MMT) and spray dried laponite (SD-LAP) particles were prepared via spray drying. Particle morphology, surface area and redispersion/aggregation properties in aqueous media were characterized. The ability of SD-MMT and SD-LAP particles to inhibit lipid digestion kinetics and adsorb lipid species from solution was assessed during in vitro lipolysis using proton nuclear magnetic resonance analysis. SD-MMT and SD-LAP particles were dosed to rodents fed a high-fat diet and their effect on body weight gain was evaluated.


Both SD-MMT and SD-LAP particles adsorbed significant quantities of medium chain triglycerides and lipolytic products from solution during in vitro lipolysis. At a concentration of 50% w/w relative to lipid content, SD-MMT and SD-LAP particles adsorbed 42% and 94% of all lipid species, respectively. SD-MMT and SD-LAP particles also reduced the extent of rodent weight gain relative to the negative control treatment group and performed similarly to orlistat via an alternate mechanism of action.


Spray dried smectite clay particles (SD-MMT and SD-LAP) with significant adsorptive capacities for dietary lipids and digestion products were successfully fabricated. These particles may be developed as novel anti-obesity treatments with fewer adverse effects than currently marketed treatment options.

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Proton nuclear magnetic resonance


Area under the curve


Cation exchange capacity


Cumulative undersized volume fraction equal to 50%




Fatty acid

H max :

Maximum extent of lipid hydrolysis


Medium chain triglyceride




Phosphate buffered saline


Spray dried laponite


Spray dried montmorillonite


Scanning electron microscopy


Specific surface area




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Acknowledgments and Disclosures

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology (ARC CE140100036) is gratefully acknowledged for research funding and support. The Australian Government Research Training Program is acknowledged for the PhD Scholarship of Tahnee J. Dening; the ÅForsk Foundation (16–463) and Wenner-Gren Foundation are acknowledged for the postdoctoral fellowship support and funding of Paul Joyce and Hanna Gustafsson; and, the Academy of Finland (#287625) is acknowledged for funding for the postdoctoral fellowship of Miia Kovalainen. This work was performed (in part) at the South Australian node of the Australian National Fabrication Facility under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy.

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Correspondence to Clive A. Prestidge.

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Dening, T.J., Joyce, P., Kovalainen, M. et al. Spray Dried Smectite Clay Particles as a Novel Treatment against Obesity. Pharm Res 36, 21 (2019).

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Key Words

  • digestion
  • laponite
  • lipid
  • montmorillonite
  • obesity