Polymeric nanoparticles based on fucoidan and chitosan were developed to deliver quercetin as a novel functional food. Through the polyelectrolyte self-assembly method, fucoidan/chitosan (F/C) nanoparticles were obtained with three different weight ratios (1/1, 3/1, and 5/1). The content of quercetin in the fucoidan/chitosan nanoparticles was in the range 110 ± 3 to 335 ± 4 mg·mL−1
, with the increase of weight ratio of fucoidan to chitosan in the nanoparticle. Physicochemically stable nanoparticles were obtained with a particle size within the 300–400 nm range and surface potential higher than +30 mV for the 1F/1C ratio nanoparticle and around −30 mV for the 3F/1C and 5F/1C ratios nanoparticles. The 1F/1C ratio nanoparticle became larger and more unstable as the pH increased from 2.5 to 7.4, while the 3F/1C and 5F/1C nanoparticles retained their initial characteristics. This result indicates that the latter nanoparticles were stable along the gastrointestinal tract. The quercetin-loaded fucoidan/chitosan nanoparticles showed strong antioxidant activity and controlled release under simulated gastrointestinal environments (in particular for the 3F/1C and 5F/1C ratios), preventing quercetin degradation and increasing its oral bioavailability.
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