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Access Type

Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program

Food Science

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Curcumin, Bioaccessibility, Nanoemulsion, In vitro digestion


The functional ingredient curcumin has a variety of biological and pharmacological actions, such as anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, anti-virus, anti-oxidant, and anti-HIV properties coupled with low toxicity. However, curcumin possesses low bioavailability due to its poor solubility in water. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of different lipid-based formulations of curcumin on in vitro solubilization and bioaccessibility. Oils representing LCT, MCT, LCT:SCT mix and SCT were used to prepare O/W (nano)emulsions with droplet sizes as low as 174 nm. An in vitro digestion model simulating the small intestine milieu in the fasted and fed state was used to characterize rate, extent, and particle size associated with emulsion digestion. Rate and extent were oil dependent, but not particle size. SCT emulsions digested at the fastest initial rate, but MCT emulsions were digested to the largest extent. Bioaccessibility, a precursor to eventual bioavailability, was determined after digestion using a curcumin:lipid content dependent and independent method. MCT produced the highest bioaccessibility of curcumin for each method. Nanoemulsion digestion and bioaccessibility results were compared to conventional emulsions because an appropriate comparison was needed to determine the merits of the nanoemulsion delivery system. There was no significant difference in particle size and bioaccessibility between the conventional and nanoemulsions.


First Advisor

Hang Xiao