Formation of gliadin-chitosan soluble complexes and coacervates through pH-induced

relationship to encapsulation and controlled release properties

Qing-Zhu Zeng, Meng-Fan Li, Zi-Zi Li, Jing-Lin Zhang, Qin Wang, Shi-lun Feng, Dong-Xiao Su, Shan He*, Yang Yuan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigated the pH-induced interaction between gliadin and chitosan (CS), as well as its relationship with encapsulation and controlled release properties, by embedding curcumin. According to the turbidimetric analysis, the critical pH c and pH φ of gliadin-chitosan nanoparticles (GCNPs), as well as gliadin nanoparticles (GNPs), were obtained. Soluble complexes and coacervates were formed mainly at pH 4.0–5.0 and 5.0–7.0, respectively, in the gliadin-CS system through electrostatic associative interactions. The isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) showed that the gliadin-CS interaction was a spontaneous exothermic process at pH 3.0 and 5.0. The soluble complexes of GCNPs with good homogeneity, and the coacervates with a large amount of aggregation, were observed via scanning electron microscopy (SEM). At pH 5.0, gliadin-CS soluble complexes were formed and showed smaller particle sizes (570.42 nm), lowest PDI (0.191), higher ζ-potential (+19.2 mV) and improved encapsulation efficiency (85.11%) of curcumin compared to at other pHs. The controlled release profile in vitro indicated that the gliadin-CS interaction decreased the release rate of curcumin in both pepsin and trypsin digestion. In conclusion, the encapsulation and controlled release properties of GCNPs could be improved by the pH-induced formation of gliadin-CS soluble complexes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


  • Gliadin
  • Chitosan
  • Interaction
  • Soluble complex
  • Controlled release

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