Optimising poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) microparticle fabrication using a Taguchi orthogonal array design-of-experiment approach

Rosemond Mensah, Stewart Kirton, Michael T. Cook, Ioanna Danai Styliari, Victoria Hutter, David Chau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)


The objective of this study was to identify, understand and generate a Taguchi orthogonal array model for the formation of 10–50 μm microparticles with applications in topical/ocular controlled drug delivery. Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microparticles were fabricated by the single emulsion oil-in-water method and the particle size was characterized using laser diffraction and scanning electronic microscopy (SEM). Sequential Taguchi L 12 and L 18 orthogonal array (OA) designs were employed to study the influence of ten and eight parameters, respectively, on microparticle size (response). The first optimization step using the L 12 design showed that all parameters significantly influenced the particle size of the prepared PLGA microparticles with exception of the concentration of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) in the hardening bath. The smallest mean particle size obtained from the L 12 design was 54.39 μm. A subsequent L 18 design showed that the molecular weight of PLGA does not significantly affect the particle size. An experimental run comprising of defined parameters including molecular weight of PLGA (89 kDa), concentration of PLGA (20% w/v), concentration of PVA in the emulsion (0.8% w/v), solvent type (ethyl acetate), organic/aqeuous phase ratio (1:1 v/v), vortexing speed (9), vortexing duration (60 seconds), concentration of PVA in hardening bath (0.8% w/v), stirring speed of hardening bath (1200 rpm) and solvent evaporation duration (24 hours) resulted in the lowest mean particle size of 23.51 μm which was predicted and confirmed by the L 18 array. A comparable size was demonstrated during the fabrication of BSA-incorporated microparticles. Taguchi OA design proved to be a valuable tool in determining the combination of process parameters that can provide the optimal condition for microparticle formulation. Taguchi OA design can be used to correctly predict the size of microparticles fabricated by the single emulsion process and can therefore, ultimately, save time and costs during the manufacturing process of drug delivery formulations by minimising experimental runs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0222858
Pages (from-to)e0222858
Number of pages22
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sept 2019


  • Controlled release
  • Tissue engineering
  • scaffold
  • regenerative medicine
  • in silico
  • Drug delivery


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