Food and Bioprocess Technology

, Volume 11, Issue 10, pp 1795–1806 | Cite as

Microencapsulation of Curcumin by a Spray-Drying Technique Using Gum Arabic as Encapsulating Agent and Release Studies

  • Andreea Bucurescu
  • Alexandra Cristina Blaga
  • Berta N. EstevinhoEmail author
  • Fernando Rocha
Original Paper


Curcumin is a natural yellow pigment extracted from dried roots of turmeric, used in food applications. Despite its applicability in food products, this phenolic compound is also used in the pharmaceutical field. It is reported to have health benefits such as anticancer, antitumor, and antiviral effects. However, curcumin is a very unstable compound. Therefore, this work proposes the microencapsulation of curcumin, in order to protect it and to improve its stability and solubility in water, by spray-drying, using the gum arabic as an encapsulating agent in three different concentrations 10, 15, and 20% (weight/volume (w/v)). Emulsions were prepared with coconut oil and used to prepare the curcumin microparticles. For this purpose, different analysis and studies were performed. A product yield ranging from 44 to 52% and from 29 to 42% was obtained for the production of microparticles without and with curcumin, respectively. The curcumin microcapsules and empty capsules were characterized and evaluated. All the microparticles presented a spherical form, had a diameter around 7–9 μm (considering a volume distribution), and had a rough surface. The efficiency of encapsulation was between 75 and 85%, being higher for the particles prepared with higher concentrations of encapsulating agents. Considering the controlled release studies, the microcapsules were prepared with different concentrations of gum arabic but showed similar release profiles. However, it was also concluded that increasing the amount of gum arabic used in the formulation of the microparticles, the amount of curcumin released in the first minutes decreases; therefore, the release tends to be slower (63.2% of the release varied between 25.5 and 69.0 min). Fitting the experimental results to a linearized equation of the Weibull model, it was possible to obtain a good correlation coefficient (R2 varying from 0.94 to 0.97), indicating that this model adapts to the experimental data obtained.

Graphical Abstract

SEM images for the microparticles prepared with curcumin using gum arabic, as encapsulating agent and experimental and Weibull model release profiles


Curcumin Gum arabic Microencapsulation Spray-drying Weibull model 



The authors thank Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) for the grant SFRH/BPD/73865/2010 and for the contract based on the DL 57/2016 of B. N. Estevinho.

This work was the result of the project POCI-01-0145-FEDER-006939 (Laboratory for Process Engineering, Environment, Biotechnology and Energy—UID/EQU/00511/2013) funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), through COMPETE2020—Programa Operacional Competitividade e Internacionalização (POCI), and by national funds, through FCT-Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia; NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000005 – LEPABE-2-ECO-INNOVATION, supported by North Portugal Regional Operational Programme (NORTE 2020), under the Portugal 2020 Partnership Agreement, through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the article.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Engenharia Química, Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do PortoLEPABEPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Protection, Department of Organic, Biochemical and Food Engineering“Gheorghe Asachi” Technical University of IasiIasiRomania

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