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Ferritin glycosylated by chitosan as a novel EGCG nano-carrier: structure, stability, and absorption analysis.


Ferritin is a shell-like carrier protein with an 8nm diameter cavity which endows a natural space to encapsulate food and drug components. In this work, phytoferritin was unprecedentedly glycosylated by chitosan to fabricate ferritin-chitosan Maillard reaction products (FCMPs) (grafting degree of 26.17%, 24h, 55°C). Results indicated that the amide I and II bands of ferritin were altered due to the chitosan grafting, whereas the ferritin spherical structure were retained. Simulated digestion analysis showed that the FCMPs were more resistant to pepsin and trypsin digestion as compared with ferritin alone. Furthermore, FCMPs were employed as carrier to encapsulate epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) molecules with an encapsulation ratio of 12.87% (w/w), and the resulting FCMPs-EGCG complexes showed a slow release of EGCG in simulated gastrointestinal tract. Interestingly, different types of food components displayed different effects in EGCG release behavior from the FCMPs, wherein proanthocyanidin, milk and soy protein inhibited the EGCG release. In addition, the absorption of EGCG encapsulated in FCMPs in Caco-2 monolayer model was significantly improved as compared with free EGCG. This work provides a novel nano-vehicle for fabricating core-shell systems in food and drug delivery domain.