University of Hertfordshire

Starch/Poly(glycerol-adipate) Nanocomposites: A Novel Oral Drug Delivery Device

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Ambra Vestri
  • Amanda K. Pearce
  • Robert Cavanagh
  • Ioanna D. Styliari
  • Carlos Sanders
  • Benoit Couturaud
  • Silvia Schenone
  • Vincenzo Taresco
  • Rasmus R. Jakobsen
  • Steven M. Howdle
  • Francesca Musumeci
  • Domenico Sagnelli
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Original languageEnglish
Article number125
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


Biocompatible and bio-based materials are an appealing resource for the pharmaceutical industry. Poly(glycerol-adipate) (PGA) is a biocompatible and biodegradable polymer that can be used to produce self-assembled nanoparticles (NPs) able to encapsulate active ingredients, with encouraging perspectives for drug delivery purposes. Starch is a versatile, inexpensive, and abundant polysaccharide that can be effectively applied as a bio-scaffold for other molecules in order to enrich it with new appealing properties. In this work, the combination of PGA NPs and starch films proved to be a suitable biopolymeric matrix carrier for the controlled release preparation of hydrophobic drugs. Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) was used to determine the size of drug-loaded PGA NPs, while the improvement of the apparent drug water solubility was assessed by UV-vis spectroscopy. In vitro biological assays were performed against cancer cell lines and bacteria strains to confirm that drug-loaded PGA NPs maintained the effective activity of the therapeutic agents. Dye-conjugated PGA was then exploited to track the NP release profile during the starch/PGA nanocomposite film digestion, which was assessed using digestion models mimicking physiological conditions. The collected data provide a clear indication of the suitability of our biodegradable carrier system for oral drug delivery.


© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

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