Nano-encapsulation of plant extracts for targeted delivery in healthcare

The University of Queensland

  • Project code: PRJ-009606

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Friday, May 30, 2014

  • Project completion date: Saturday, May 30, 2015

  • National Priority: NEPI-Feasibility studies and industry literature reviews


The future prosperity of the Australian essential oils and plant extract industry in both domestic and export markets depends on the ability to develop innovative products for the food, feed and pharmaceutical industries. Such innovative products will include targeted nano-delivery systems with plant extracts to enhance the potency of bioactive compounds.

The Tasmanian essential oils industry is looking to develop innovative nano-delivery systems targeting organisms that cause diseases in a range of healthcare applications. The aim of this study is to develop nanoparticles to target and deliver essential oils and plant extracts to selected disease organisms. The developed nanoparticles will be screened for efficacy using in vitro and in vivo assays. A series of nanoemulsion formulations will be developed and the most effective blends will be selected for in vivo applications. This project will open new markets for the industry.


New and Emerging Plant Industries

Research Organisation

The University of Queensland

Objective Summary

The overall objective of this project is to develop a functional nanoemulsion delivery system that is able to deliver plant extracts in a targeted approach to treat a range of diseases.

Specific objectives include:

– Design and develop a nanoemulsion concept model for targeted delivery.
– Characterisation of physicochemical properties of nanoemulsion systems, such as loading, size, charge, targeting molecule density
– Optimisation of nanoemulsion system in terms of the plant extract loading and stability.
– Determine the storage life stability of nanoemulsion systems in aqueous phase (agglomeration, release, targeting moiety density, charge etc).
– Scaling up production from a milligram to gram scale for in vitro and in vivo trials.
– Determine the economic benefits throughout the supply chain for the most effective formulations (i.e returns for growers of the primary product, the manufacturer of the formulation and benefits for the end user)