There is ongoing interest in exploiting the antioxidant activity and other medicinal properties of natural monophenolic/polyphenolic compounds, but their generally low aqueous solubility limits their applications. Numerous studies have been undertaken to solubilize such compounds via supramolecular derivatization with co-crystal formation with biocompatible coformer molecules and cyclodextrin (CD) complexation being two successful approaches. In this study, eight new crystalline products obtained by complexation between methylated cyclodextrins and the bioactive phenolic acids (ferulic, hydroferulic, caffeic, and p
-coumaric acids) were investigated using thermal analysis (hot stage microscopy, thermogravimetry, differential scanning calorimetry) and X-ray diffraction. All of the complexes crystallized as ternary systems containing the host CD, a phenolic acid guest, and water. On heating each complex, the primary thermal events were dehydration and liberation of the respective phenolic acid component, the mass loss for the latter step enabling determination of the host-guest stoichiometry. Systematic examination of the X-ray crystal structures of the eight complexes enabled their classification according to the extent of inclusion of each guest molecule within the cavity of its respective CD molecule. This revealed three CD inclusion compounds with full guest encapsulation, three with partial guest inclusion, and two that belong to the rare class of ‘non-inclusion’ compounds.
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