Stabilized nanoparticles of phytosterol by rapid expansion from supercritical solution into aqueous solution.

Research paper by Michael M Türk, Ralph R Lietzow

Indexed on: 12 Mar '05Published on: 12 Mar '05Published in: AAPS PharmSciTech


The basic objective of this work was to form stable suspensions of submicron particles of phytosterol, a water-insoluble drug, by rapid expansion of supercritical solution into aqueous solution (RESSAS). A supercritical phytosterol/CO2 mixture was expanded into an aqueous surfactant solution. In these experiments 4 different surfactants were used to impede growth and agglomeration of the submicron particles resulting from collisions in the free jet. The concentration of the drug in the aqueous surfactant solution was determined by high-performance liquid chromatography, while the size of the stabilized particles was measured by dynamic light scattering. Submicron phytosterol particles (<500 nm) were stabilized and in most cases a bimodal particle size distribution was obtained. Depending on surfactant and concentration of the surfactant solution, suspensions with drug concentrations up to 17 g/dm3 could be achieved, which is 2 orders of magnitude higher than the equilibrium solubility of phytosterol. Long-term stability studies indicate modest particle growth over 12 months. Thus, the results demonstrate that RESSAS can be a promising process for stabilizing submicron particles in aqueous solutions.