DD04: Preparation of microencapsulated honey: Enhancing product stability for wound management applications

Supervisory Team

Dr Claire Martin and Professor Stephen Britland, School of Pharmacy

Project Description

One of the difficulties encountered in the processing of liquid honey into honey powder is the stickiness of the dried honey due to the high sugar contents. This problem is usually addressed by the addition of filler materials to increase glass transition temperature (Tg) and also encapsulate the honey itself. The selection of microencapsulation method and coating materials are interdependent. Coating materials are selected from a wide variety of natural or synthetic polymers, depending on the material to be coated and characteristics desired in the final honey microparticles. The composition of the microencapsulating material is the major determinant of the functional properties of the microcapsule and of how it may be used to improve the performance of a particular ingredient. 

The most commonly used biocompatible materials are carbohydrates (starch, maltodextrins, carboxymethylcellulose, etc.), gum Arabic, proteins (gluten, casein, gelatin, albumin, peptides), lipids (wax, paraffin, beeswax, fats and oils) and certain biopolymers (chitosan). These materials are effective encapsulating agents because they form amorphous glasses which show reduced molecular mobility and also restrict the movement of the encapsulated compounds. Proteins have the added advantage of surfactant-like emulsifing activities that can also contribute to the physical properties of the encapsulated systems. The aim of this project therefore is to investigate biocompatible coating materials for the production of pharmaceutical grade honey powder for wound management applications. 

The four main experimental stages are:

i)        Produce honey powder using a range of drying methodologies

ii)       Compare the characteristics of the microencapsulated honey

iii)     Study the properties and influence of the encapsulating material on honey powder quality and stability

iv)     Examine the feasibility of using honey powder as a topical antimicrobial and/or wound healing agent 

The successful candidate will be trained in a range of advanced techniques used in the preparation of microcapsules and develop skills in microbiology. Laboratory work and characterization will be undertaken within the University of Wolverhampton’s new Science Centre, the Rosalind Franklin building, which houses a broad range of state-of-the-art research facilities suitable for undertaking this multidisciplinary project.

Eligibility

We welcome applications at any time from self-funded students that are well qualified and highly motivated. Applicants should have a recognized Honours or Masters degree with a 2.1 or equivalent in pharmacy, pharmaceutical science or biomedical science, (or a related field).

Applicants whose entry award was not delivered in English, or non-native speaker of English shall be required to demonstrate proficiency in English at least to the level of an IELTS score of 7.0 or its equivalent.

How to apply

Complete the Research Project Application Form Research Project Application Form (Word doc 679k)and email to RIHS@wlv.ac.uk.

See Guidance for the Completion of the Research Project Application Form (Word doc 23k) for details.

For more information

For an informal discussion please contact Dr Claire Martin (C.Martin@wlv.ac.uk)