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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(4), 5060-5073; doi:10.3390/ijms13045060

Preparation and Characterization of Micronized Artemisinin via a Rapid Expansion of Supercritical Solutions (RESS) Method

2,* , 2,* , 2
1 Chinese Medicine Department, the Second Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University, Harbin 150086, China 2 Key Laboratory of Forest Plant Ecology, Ministry of Education, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin 150040, China
* Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 March 2012 / Revised: 4 April 2012 / Accepted: 11 April 2012 / Published: 23 April 2012
(This article belongs to the Section Material Sciences and Nanotechnology)
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The particle sizes of pharmaceutical substances are important for their bioavailability. Bioavailability can be improved by reducing the particle size of the drug. In this study, artemisinin was micronized by the rapid expansion of supercritical solutions (RESS). The particle size of the unprocessed white needle-like artemisinin particles was 30 to 1200 µm. The optimum micronization conditions are determined as follows: extraction temperature of 62 °C, extraction pressure of 25 MPa, precipitation temperature 45 °C and nozzle diameter of 1000 μm. Under the optimum conditions, micronized artemisinin with a (mean particle size) MPS of 550 nm is obtained. By analysis of variance (ANOVA), extraction temperature and pressure have significant effects on the MPS of the micronized artemisinin. The particle size of micronized artemisinin decreased with increasing extraction temperature and pressure. Moreover, the SEM, LC-MS, FTIR, DSC and XRD allowed the comparison between the crystalline initial state and the micronization particles obtained after the RESS process. The results showed that RESS process has not induced degradation of artemisinin and that processed artemisinin particles have lower crystallinity and melting point. The bulk density of artemisinin was determined before and after RESS process and the obtained results showed that it passes from an initial density of 0.554 to 0.128 g·cm−3 after the processing. The decrease in bulk density of the micronized powder can increase the liquidity of drug particles when they are applied for medicinal preparations. These results suggest micronized powder of artemisinin can be of great potential in drug delivery systems.
Keywords: RESS; supercritical fluids; micronization; artemisinin RESS; supercritical fluids; micronization; artemisinin
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Yu, H.; Zhao, X.; Zu, Y.; Zhang, X.; Zu, B.; Zhang, X. Preparation and Characterization of Micronized Artemisinin via a Rapid Expansion of Supercritical Solutions (RESS) Method. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13, 5060-5073.

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