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Composite Nanoscale Delivery Systems for optimal in body and in product behavior (INBODY)
Start date: Oct 1, 2014, End date: Sep 30, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project aims at the development of zein-based composite delivery systems for plant polyphenols and iron salts (separately and in combination) for application in foods, whose design is based on the fundamental understanding of the interactions at molecular level between zein and the payload, in order to foster payload protection and delivery both in product and in body.The molecular organization and naturally occurring interactions of zein, the prolamin of corn, with the selected payload compounds will be exploited for the bioinspired synthesis of colloidal particles able to prevent the reduction in bioavailability and bioaccessibility usually associated with the co-administration of iron and polyphenols. The zein based colloidal particles will be stabilized through the deposition of molecular layers of absorbed biopolymers to improve the biocompatibility with food systems, as well as the stability, bioaccessibility and bioactivity of payload compounds. Finally, the in product and in body behavior will be investigated under accelerated ageing and simulated digestions in model food formulations.The main novelties proposed in relationship to the state of the art concern the exploitation of the naturally occurring molecular interactions between zein and polyphenols and zein and iron in the bioinspired synthesis of colloidal particles, the use of zein as key constituent, for its functional properties and capabilities to constitute nanoscale organized structures, as well as the development of a toolbox for rational design of the nanoscale delivery systems based on their in product and in body behavior.The applicant has a strong background in the delivery of polyphenols in lipid-based carriers, and has already shown independency and vocation to research. The host institution, widely considered a pivotal research centre in food delivery systems, is probably the best place in Europe to carry out such a research.

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