Micropipette manipulation: a technique to evaluate the stability of water-in-oil emulsions containing proteins

Lene Jorgensen, Dennis Heejong Kim, Charlotte Vermehren, Simon Bjerregaard, Sven Frokjaer


The interfacial properties and stability of water-in-oil emulsions containing protein were studied using micromanipulation. Micropipettes were used to produce individual water droplets in oil in a controlled manner on the micron scale. The pipettes were then used to bring two droplets into contact in order to observe fusion. The occurrence of fusion was investigated as a function of the compositions of both the continuous (oil) and dispersed (aqueous) phases. Various proteins, i.e., insulin, growth hormone, or serum albumin, were dissolved in the dispersed phase. When low concentrations of surfactants or no surfactant were present in the oil phase, a condensed protein film was formed at the surface of the droplets, which was revealed by the irregular topology of the droplet surface viewed with contrast microscopy. At higher surfactant concentrations, this topology was not observed nor was the stability apparently affected; emulsion droplets coalesce immediately upon contact with each other. There seems to be a limiting surfactant concentration, which stabilizes the droplets toward fusion and prevents formation of a condensed surface film, when the droplets contain protein. The technique exhibits potential for examination of the effects of various excipients on the coalescence stability of emulsion droplets.

TidsskriftJournal of pharmaceutical sciences
Udgave nummer12
Sider (fra-til)2994-3003
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2004


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