In the present work, we report for the first time the complex coacervation of carboxymethyl sago pulp (CMSP) with gelatine for sustained drug delivery. Toluene saturated with glutaraldehyde and aqueous aluminum chloride was employed as cross-linkers. Measurements of zeta potential confirm neutralization of two oppositely charged colloids due to complexation, which was further supported by infrared spectroscopy. The coacervates encapsulated a model drug ibuprofen and formed microcapsules with a loading of 29%–56% w
and an entrapment efficiency of 85%–93% w
. Fresh coacervates loaded with drug had an average diameter of 10.8 ± 1.93 µm (n
= 3 ± s.d.). The coacervates could encapsulate only the micronized form of ibuprofen in the absence of surfactant. Analysis through an optical microscope evidenced the encapsulation of the drug in wet spherical coacervates. Scanning electron microscopy revealed the non-spherical geometry and surface roughness of dried drug-loaded microcapsules. X-ray diffraction, differential scanning calorimetry and thermal analysis confirmed intact and crystalline ibuprofen in the coacervates. Gas chromatography indicated the absence of residual glutaraldehyde in the microcapsules. Dual cross-linked microcapsules exhibited a slower release than mono-cross-linked microcapsules and could sustain the drug release over the period of 6 h following Fickian diffusion.
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